Just a generation ago the notion that holidays should be invested with ethical and political significance would have sounded odd. Today it is part of the lifestyle political landscape. Volunteer tourism is indicative of the growth of lifestyle strategies intended to exhibit care and responsibility towards others less fortunate, strategies aligned closely with developing one's ethical identity and sense of global responsibility. It sits alongside telethons, pay-per-click, Fair Trade and ethical consumption generally as a way to "make a difference". Volunteer tourism involves a personal mission to address the political question of development. It draws upon the private virtues of care and responsibility and disavows political narratives beyond this. Critics argue that this leaves the volunteers as unwitting carriers of damaging neoliberal or postcolonial assumptions, whilst advocates see it as offering creative and practical ways to build a new ethical politics. By contrast, this volume analyses volunteer tourism as indicative of a retreat from public politics into the realm of private experience, and as an expression of diminished political and moral agency.
This thought provoking book draws on development, political and sociological theory and is essential reading for students, researchers and academics interested in the phenomenon of volunteer tourism and the politics of lifestyle that it represents.