'Making a Difference': Volunteer Tourism and Development,

Butcher, Jim and Smith, Peter (2010) 'Making a Difference': Volunteer Tourism and Development,. Tourism Recreation Research, 35 (1). pp. 27-36. ISSN 0250-8281

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Official URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0250828...


Abstract: In recent decades there has been a boom in international volunteer tourism, mainly in the form of the growth of gap-year companies offering placements, linked to conservation and community well-being goals. This paper makes two points: firstly, it argues that the growth of volunteer tourism is in part a product of the politics of the current period – the decline of grand narratives and the growth of ‘life political’ alternative forms of agency. Hence volunteer tourism, motivated by the impulse to ‘make a difference’, tells us something about the way in which development issues are being conceived of by idealistic young people who comprise the majority of volunteer tourists. Secondly, the paper takes issue with the view that today’s volunteer tourists are part of a tradition of colonialism and neo-colonialism that projects western conceptions of modernization onto the Third World societies to the detriment of the latter. Rather, it is argued that the politics behind volunteer tourism is better characterized as a rejection of modernization as development in favour of a post-development influenced approach. Keywords: volunteer tourism; life politics; gap-year; ethical consumption; tourism and development.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 301 Sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences > 338 Production, Industry, Tourism
School/Department: School of Management and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Peter Smith
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2012 09:56
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2016 14:47
URI: http://research.stmarys.ac.uk/id/eprint/280


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