Davies’ review explores the history of transnational voluntary associations, commencing with general patterns before proceeding to cover the history of different sectors in turn, including humanitarianism, science, education, environment, feminism, race, health, human rights, labour, business, standards, professions, culture, peace, religion, and youth. Coverage extends from the late eighteenth century through to the early twenty-first century and spans histories of particular organizations and of particular campaigns in addition to the evolution of broader transnational social movements. Contrasting perspectives on historical evolution are considered, including both linear and cyclical interpretations. The factors underpinning historical changes are explored, including economic, environmental, political, scientific and social developments. Insights are drawn not only from a transnational historical perspective, but also the many other disciplines that shed light on the subject, such as world sociology. The review also incorporates perspectives from international relations, development studies, peace studies, voluntary sector studies, and women’s studies. It argues that the historical evolution of transnational voluntary associations is longer, less Western in origin and more cyclical than traditionally assumed.
Thomas Richard Davies (DPhil, University of Oxford), is Senior Lecturer in International Politics at City University London. He is the author of
NGOs: A New History of Transnational Civil Society and
The Possibilities of Transnational Activism: The Campaign for Disarmament between the Two World Wars.
Anyone interested in the field of Voluntaristics worldwide, academics and researchers in anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, and psychology, and those interested in Area studies, the social professions, and history.