Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Volunteer tourism, subjectivity and the psychosocial
Author: Crossley, Emilie
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Volunteer tourism is an increasingly popular practice that provides tourists with the opportunity to contribute to community development or environmental projects, usually in Third World countries. This research explores the potential of volunteer tourism to develop cross-cultural understanding, transform tourists into more charitable, ethical subjects and foster more reciprocal relations between tourists and visited communities. The research uses a longitudinal methodology to follow ten young people from the UK through time and space as they embark on a journey to Kenya with a commercial volunteer tourism provider. Using a combination of repeated in-depth interviews and participant observation, I show how volunteer tourists produce understandings, or ‘imaginaries’, of poverty, authenticity and care that simultaneously enable and constrain their ability to act ethically. I argue that the complexities of the volunteer tourism encounter can only be understood through a psychosocial account of subjectivity that articulates the point of suture between the social and the psychological. Drawing on Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to interpret the volunteer tourists’ narratives, I show that it is possible to approach the psychological in tourism studies in a non-reductive and culturally engaged way. This psychoanalytic reading provides insight into how volunteer tourists’ perceptions are refracted through cultural fantasies of the non-Western Other, how they are confronted by the demands of contradictory ideological injunctions and how their investment in consumer identities presents a barrier to ethical transformation. The thesis concludes that in order to harness volunteer tourism’s potential as a means of achieving social transformation, greater attention must be paid to subjectivity and the psychosocial as a way of understanding the social demands, desire and investments experienced by volunteer tourists.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)