Skip to main content

Poor but Happy: Volunteer Tourists’ Encounters with Poverty

Buy Article:

$55.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

This article explores how young volunteer tourists encounter and negotiate poverty in rural Kenya. Using a longitudinal psychosocial methodology, I demonstrate how poverty can be conceptualized as a threatening ‘object’ to volunteer tourists, inducing unconscious anxiety by challenging Western materialistic lifestyles and identities. Volunteer tourists negotiate this anxiety in three ways: by transforming poverty into a source of moral redemption; by allowing poverty to become subsumed into a seductive, exotic landscape so that it can be admired and consumed; and by constructing impoverished communities as ‘poor but happy’. It is argued that these neutralizing constructions act as barriers, preventing the intimate engagement with communities that volunteer tourism promises and lessening the potential of poverty to shock, move and even change those who come into contact with it.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Keywords: Kenya; Poverty; authenticity; defences; investment; psychosocial; subjectivity; volunteer tourism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

Publication date: 2012-05-01

More about this publication?
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more