How to win friends and influence nations: The international history of Development Volunteering

Agnieszka Maria Sobocinska

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    This article traces the personal and institutional networks that facilitated the transnational spread of Development Volunteering in the 1950s and 1960s. Examining Australia's Volunteer Graduate Scheme, Britain's Voluntary Service Overseas, and the United States Peace Corps, it destabilizes each nation's claims to pioneering Development Volunteering, and interrogates the reasons for these claims. Once national frames are removed, broader patterns come into view. This article reveals that Development Volunteering held multiple meanings, as discourses of development, colonialism, and control existed alongside those of youthful idealism and national benevolence. It argues that, by involving 'ordinary' people in international development and by re-inscribing colonial-era divisions between the developed and developing worlds, Development Volunteering contributed to the broader process by which colonial discourses were translated into the postcolonial lexicon of development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)49-73
    Number of pages25
    JournalJournal of Global History
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


    • development discourse
    • foreign aid
    • international development
    • Peace Corps
    • volunteering

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