Unsettling geographies of volunteering and development
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This article critically examines the geography of volunteering in relation to international development. We identify the investments involved in sustaining the North–South imaginaries that have come to dominate scholarship in this field and explore new ways of unsettling this geography. We draw together empirical material from five different research projects, conducted with distinct thematic and geographical foci over a six-year timeframe. We do so in order to show how existing geographies of volunteering and development have produced fixed understandings of agency and experiences in diverse contexts, meanwhile side-lining the temporalities associated with such fixings. We highlight how the continued privileging of northern mobilities, temporalities and biographies has segregated particular settings and types of volunteering and obscured other, often shared and sometimes co-produced development processes, relationships and spaces. In developing a new approach, we first emphasise the importance of looking at the ‘hidden geometries’ that shape the individual, institutional and organisational articulations that are central to the relationship between volunteering and development. Second, we introduce the idea of a flattened topography to level the emphasis on difference in the geographies associated with this relationship. We aim to make visible new volunteers and development actors as well as reveal different rhythms and routines of volunteering, and different identities, biographies and forms of career and life-making connected with volunteering and development.
Laurie , N D & Baillie Smith , M 2017 , ' Unsettling geographies of volunteering and development ' Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers , vol Early View . DOI: 10.1111/tran.12205
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
© 2017 The Authors. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Funding: UK AHRC (AH/G016461/1), ESRC (RES-451-26-0561).
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