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När den Andre behöver hjälp - om makt, etik och koloniala spår i volontärturismen

Bäckström, Hanna LU (2011) GNVK01 20111
Department of Gender Studies
Abstract
This is a study of the growing phenomenon volunteer tourism, defined as Westerners traveling to countries in the ”third world”, mainly through commercial agencies, with the purpose of ”helping out” in social and environmental projects. The purpose is to examine how the volunteer travel as a social practice produces discursive meaning, identities and subject positions. I have studied the web pages of two Swedish volunteer travel agencies, and conducted interviews with four former volunteers.

I find the volunteer travel problematic because it articulates ”the Other” as a generalized object in need of help, and ”the Westerner” as active and knowing, despite his/her lack of experience. Though, the interviews show that the power relations... (More)
This is a study of the growing phenomenon volunteer tourism, defined as Westerners traveling to countries in the ”third world”, mainly through commercial agencies, with the purpose of ”helping out” in social and environmental projects. The purpose is to examine how the volunteer travel as a social practice produces discursive meaning, identities and subject positions. I have studied the web pages of two Swedish volunteer travel agencies, and conducted interviews with four former volunteers.

I find the volunteer travel problematic because it articulates ”the Other” as a generalized object in need of help, and ”the Westerner” as active and knowing, despite his/her lack of experience. Though, the interviews show that the power relations are dependent on context, and constructed in intersections of, among other, gender, race and age.

In conclusion, I argue that the commercialization of the volunteer travel, and the articulation of the phenomenon as just a ”good deed”, risks to ignore previous/contemporary meetings between Western “Selfs” and other “Others”, hardly distinguishable from colonial relationships. To acknowledge these contexts and ”the other” as a concrete subject, rather than as a stranger in need, would be desirable for an “ethical tourism” aiming to “do good”. (Less)
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author
Bäckström, Hanna LU
supervisor
organization
course
GNVK01 20111
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
postkolonial, turism, volontärresor, national identity, communicative ethics, post colonial, volunteer travel, tourism, kommunikativ etik, nationell identitet
language
Swedish
id
1970385
date added to LUP
2011-06-16 15:41:40
date last changed
2011-06-16 15:41:40
@misc{1970385,
  abstract     = {This is a study of the growing phenomenon volunteer tourism, defined as Westerners traveling to countries in the ”third world”, mainly through commercial agencies, with the purpose of ”helping out” in social and environmental projects. The purpose is to examine how the volunteer travel as a social practice produces discursive meaning, identities and subject positions. I have studied the web pages of two Swedish volunteer travel agencies, and conducted interviews with four former volunteers. 

I find the volunteer travel problematic because it articulates ”the Other” as a generalized object in need of help, and ”the Westerner” as active and knowing, despite his/her lack of experience. Though, the interviews show that the power relations are dependent on context, and constructed in intersections of, among other, gender, race and age. 

In conclusion, I argue that the commercialization of the volunteer travel, and the articulation of the phenomenon as just a ”good deed”, risks to ignore previous/contemporary meetings between Western “Selfs” and other “Others”, hardly distinguishable from colonial relationships. To acknowledge these contexts and ”the other” as a concrete subject, rather than as a stranger in need, would be desirable for an “ethical tourism” aiming to “do good”.},
  author       = {Bäckström, Hanna},
  keyword      = {postkolonial,turism,volontärresor,national identity,communicative ethics,post colonial,volunteer travel,tourism,kommunikativ etik,nationell identitet},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {När den Andre behöver hjälp - om makt, etik och koloniala spår i volontärturismen},
  year         = {2011},
}