Portrayals of Voluntourism through a Postcolonial Perspective

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Sammanfattning: The popularity of voluntourism (volunteer tourism) over the last couple of decades has developed rapidly into a global phenomenon. The concept of voluntourism seeks to align tourism with development initiatives occurring often within the Global South with the assistance of volunteer sending organisations (VTSOs). At first glance, voluntourism is seen as distinctly noble in its intentions with altruism being one of the defining characteristic, but its rise in popularity has coincided with a rise in profit-oriented VTSOs. Thus, leading to several ignoble conclusions being made by the media and academics about voluntourism’s relationship with profit, development and its intended beneficiaries. Therefore, this study examines how the for-profit VTSO Volunteering Journeys portrays voluntourism on its website through an analysis utilising a postcolonial theoretical framework. The results showed that from a postcolonial theoretical perspective, Volunteering Journeys’ portrayal of voluntourism had neocolonial themes, which were Giving back/Compassion, Making a Difference, Personas, and Us versus Them. These themes were further divided up into two categories to better examine particular focus areas. The first two themes were put into the category Portrayal of Voluntourist. The second two themes were put into the category Portrayal of Host Country/Community. Furthermore, through a postcolonial perspective the analysis and results showed that Volunteering Journeys portrayal of voluntourism highlighted the voluntourist being portrayed as superior to host country/community.

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