Space, Time and Structure: Unpacking Relationships in International Development Volunteering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Relationships and relational outcomes are key in international development volunteering (IDV) research, but little attention has been paid to the spaces of relationship formation. This article contributes to the literature by unpacking volunteer–local relationships using a spatial lens. It uses a case study of Singapore–Cambodia IDV projects spanning the short and long-term temporal continuum to unpack how space, time and structure influence volunteer–local relationships. It presents three distinct development spaces—structured, social and transition spaces—that shape hierarchical, reciprocal or convivial relationships. These findings highlight the role organizations play in volunteer–local relationships, and the importance of making space and time for more equitable relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-351
Number of pages17
JournalProgress in Development Studies
Issue number4
Early online date14 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Singapore International Foundation (SIF).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 SAGE Publications.


  • Friendships
  • Geography
  • Partnerships
  • Reciprocity
  • Relationships
  • volunteering


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