Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Rachel Slocum

Second Advisor

Teresa Healy


Child sponsorship as a method of international development offers child sponsors a personal connection to the process of alleviating poverty in the global South. As a form of human development, child sponsorship is constituted by neoliberal principles of marketization and social entrepreneurship. How does child sponsorship, in this context, require us to rethink the ethics of international development in light of ongoing debates about neoliberalism? In this research, I argue that child sponsorship reifies the binary of the “developed” and “undeveloped” worlds. Through undertaking a content analysis of three organizations (Compassion International, World Vision, and UNICEF) and applying post-structural critique to their marketing materials, clear distinctions can be made between multilateral approaches to human development and the strategies employed by non-profit child sponsorship agencies. A noticeable divergence can be found in the presence of a co-development framework in UNICEF programs which coincides with emerging critiques of conventional notions of humanitarian ethics and may complement potential alternatives to these established norms.


Critical and Cultural Studies | Digital Humanities | Ethics and Political Philosophy | Ethics in Religion | Missions and World Christianity | Political Economy | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sociology of Culture | Visual Studies