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Bringing Relational Comparison into Development Studies: Global Health Volunteers’ Experiences of Sierra Leone.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-111
Number of pages15
JournalProgress in Development Studies
Issue number2
Early online date24 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jan 2019


King's Authors


Global health volunteering is premised on a comparative understanding of development: hospitals in developing countries are ‘behind’ modern institutions in developed nations and sharing volunteers’ skills will enable the latter to ‘catch-up’. We argue for a ‘relational comparison’ in development studies, which draws upon a geographical conception of inequality premised on understanding places in relation to one another, rather than reifying differences between countries. We place a particular hospital within a dialectical totality of combined and uneven development. Health workers’ experiences of volunteering in Sierra Leone demonstrate that local problems, including staff shortages and corruption, are enveloped within global processes.

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