Thursday, 31 May 2012



This work comes at an important time of global crisis and change, where the world is ravaged by natural disasters, wars and poverty. This has increased the pressure on governments and other organisations, such as volunteer sending agencies, which provide aid, and we have seen an upward trend in the number of people volunteering abroad. Within this volatile environment, neoliberal ideology on how aid should be provided and implemented has become embedded in how policy is formulated. A market-driven model of aid provision has become the norm, and governments are increasingly focused on international development volunteering as a form of 'soft diplomacy'.

This is the first qualitative empirical study of international development volunteering. The book contributes theoretical knowledge on International Volunteering Sending Agencies (IVSAs) and examines practitioner experience in development volunteering in the context of emerging policy developments. Critical analysis highlights the impact of global and social changes and provides a nuanced understanding of development volunteer motivation, and the relationship between volunteers and sending agencies. The book also puts forward an agenda and model for volunteer sending that addresses the complexities and diversity of the volunteer experience.

CONTENTS: Introduction 1. A Contested Field: Conceptualising Development Volunteering 2. Historical and Theoretical Background 3. Neoliberal Development Paradigm: Social and Political Impacts on Australian IVSAs 4. Linking Voices and Experiences to Theory: Palms Australia, Its Volunteers and Their Context 5. Motivation: Altruistic and Egoistic Desire 6. Interpretations and Expectations 7. Whose Partnership Is It? Unpacking "Mutually Equitable Partnership" 8. Networking Home 9. Conclusions and Recommendations

ISBN: 9780415809153: 


NICHOLE GEORGEOU [BCA, Dip. Ed., MA, PhD] is a Senior Lecturer in Humanitarian and Development Studies, Western Sydney University. Prior to 2016 she was a lecturer in International Development and Global Studies at Australian Catholic University in Sydney. During 2011-2014 she was a director of Palms Australia , an independent Australian Volunteer Sending Agency, and she is a member of the Interim Executive Committee of the Oceania chapter of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP).

A graduate of the University of Wollongong, Nichole’s PhD thesis (2011) formed part of an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant between the University of Wollongong and Palms Australia. Prior to this, she completed a MA (Research) thesis on state-citizen relations in Japan and changing notions of volunteering. Nichole has lived and worked in Japan, and reads and speaks the Japanese language.

Her current research interests are in Security Sector Reform and its articulation with states and doctrines of Responsibility to Protect. Nichole is currently engaged in field work and research for a book, co-authored with University of Wollongong colleague Dr. Charles Hawksley, on Policing and the Responsibility to Protect in Oceania.

Before she came to academia, Nichole worked in a variety of jobs, including school teaching and arts management. She also spent a number of years in the field during the 1990s, variously working as an aid volunteer and aid organiser/manager in Japan and in Vietnam.

It has been said of Nichole’s scholarship that ‘it is her hands-on and frontline volunteer/aid experience that uniquely endows her work with perspective, nuance, depth and relevance’. In 2008, discussing the roots of Nichole’s scholarly work, Asian Currents (e-bulletin of the Asian Studies Association of Australia) explained:

Nichole’s interest in the relationship between government policy and models of volunteering was first piqued in Japan where she founded and ran a volunteer organisation which raised funds for women’s literacy and income generation projects in Northern Vietnam. Working alongside UNICEF Hanoi and the Vietnam Women’s Union, this experience raised many questions about ‘development’ both as a concept and industry, and in particular the role of volunteers in sustainable development projects. After experiencing first hand the shifts and changes in attitudes to volunteering as well as national policy after the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake that hit the city of Kobe in Japan, the experience also inspired a curiosity about the way in which state-citizen relations impact on notions of volunteering.



"This is a path-breaking ethnographic study of development volunteering…."
---Professor Paul James, Director, Global Cities Institute (RMIT); Director, United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme; an editor of Arena Journal; author of Nation Formation: Towards a Theory of Abstract Community (1996), and Globalism, Nationalism, Tribalism: Bringing Theory Back In (2006).


"It is a very original piece of research and will make an excellent contribution to development and volunteering by bringing together sociological, development, public administration, and CSO and political science literatures."---Dr. Rose Melville, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Work and Human Services, University of Queensland

"This research has implications for Palms Australia and all other volunteer-sending agencies..."---Brendan Joyce, Assistant Director, Palms Australia.

"This book makes an important contribution to understanding Australia's international engagement in Asia, and to theorising the political role that individual Australians play in aid delivery".---Faculty of Arts, Research Newsletter, University of Wollongong.

"Neoliberalism, Development, and Aid Volunteering is an enormously complex text, an interdisciplinary blend of history, politics, sociology, social anthropology, and ethnography. At times the author reaches back to the 18th century to understand the philosophical, economic and political roots of the contemporary/current situation she explores. Georgeou lays out her case and develops her account with nuanced scholarship. That said, she avoids the coded and cold impenetrability of much academic writing, and her work is at once scholarly, personal, and accessible to non-specialists." ---Rowan Cahill, Journal of Australian Political Economy, Winter 2013. 


Rowan Cahill, "Review of Nichole Georgeou, Neoliberalism, Development, and Aid Volunteering", Journal of Australian Political Economy, Issue No. 71, Winter 2013, pp. 136-138. [LINK]