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Shaping the 'Volunteer Tourist Bubble': Gendered Experiences of Volunteer Tourists

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Title: Shaping the 'Volunteer Tourist Bubble': Gendered Experiences of Volunteer Tourists
Author: Kipp, Amy
Department: Department of Geography
Program: Geography
Advisor: Hawkins, RobertaGray, Noella
Abstract: Within the volunteer tourism sector there exists an uneven gender divide with a four to one ratio of women to men volunteering abroad. This thesis explores this trend from a feminist perspective, by investigating the way volunteer tourists perceived gender to have influenced the spaces, activities and interactions they experienced while abroad. To explore these experiences, I began by conducting semi-structured interviews with former volunteer tourists; I then conducted a case study of a volunteer trip in Guatemala, using participant observation and follow-up interviews. Through a feminist critique of this data, I argue that volunteer tourism is a gendered space, which can be conceptualized as a ‘volunteer tourist bubble.’ This ‘bubble’ is constructed through notions of fear and care, which shape and are shaped by volunteer tourists’ various subjectivities. These findings reveal ways in which gendered and racialized regimes of power are both challenged and reinforced in the ‘volunteer tourist bubble.’
Date: 2017-06-26

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