This paper argues that Development Studies has offered limited critical engagement with the complex ways in which development shapes the subjectivities of citizens in the Global North. Campaigns and experiences such as Make Poverty History, the “gap year” and the mainstreaming of fair trade all shape the ways in which Northern publics understand and respond to development issues. This is significant as established ideas of rich and poor are challenged and reinforced through austerity in the Global North, discourses around the “rising powers” and the closing of spaces for critical public debate on development. Research with the NGO CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) illustrates the ways social relations and identities interweave with development imaginaries in the Global North. A drawing together of postcolonial and cosmopolitan perspectives provides a starting point for rethinking scholarship and curricula in this area.