An exploration of poverty as a consumption object: voluntourist’s stories from an orphanage in Nepal

Amira Benali*, Olga Kravets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper examines the understanding of poverty emerging in voluntourists’ accounts of their first-hand experiences of poverty alleviation. Based on the ethnography of an orphanage in Nepal, we show that despite voluntourists’ good intentions and even (self-)criticism of the volunteer tourism approach to poverty relief, their accounts tend to consolidate rather regressive ideas about poverty. We draw on postcolonial and post-development theory to illuminate specific ways in which the old Orientalist tropes and discourses of othering are perpetuated in this novel neoliberal form of travelling. We contribute to the critical work on voluntourism and market-based approaches to societal and environmental problems by focusing on poverty as an object of consumption. Such a conception emerges from how the voluntourists’ stories were shaped by and refracted through the structure of voluntourism and the logics of social media. Such refraction leads to systematic depoliticisation of global inequality and responses to poverty.

Original languageEnglish
JournalConsumption Markets and Culture
Volume25
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)469-484
Number of pages16
ISSN1025-3866
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • ethnography
  • orientalism
  • post development
  • poverty
  • Voluntourism

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'An exploration of poverty as a consumption object: voluntourist’s stories from an orphanage in Nepal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this