Otago Polytechnic

Dr Émilie Crossley presents the last lunchtime seminar in the Supervision, Management, Business, Analytics series for the year.


28 NOVEMBER 2017, 12 till 1pm, D317, D Block, Otago Polytechnic


Topic: Volunteer tourism provides tourists with the opportunity to engage with development efforts in poor parts of the world. This seminar explores the tension between volunteer tourists’ identities as agents of development and perceptions of the environmental or cultural damage caused by their presence. Using interviews conducted with British volunteer tourists over the course of a year, I show how their narratives are framed by competing discourses of development and conservation. This analysis reveals that volunteer tourists also draw on colonial representations of Africa that construct an aesthetics of poverty, in which poverty becomes doubly-inscribed as both horrific and beautiful. Caught dilemmatically between an ethical imperative to alleviate poverty and the desire to admire it as symbolic of authenticity, I explore how volunteer tourists come to prioritize the aesthetic preservation of visited places over the economic rights of their inhabitants.

Presenter: Dr Émilie Crossley is a critical tourism researcher whose work explores tourist subjectivity from the perspective of psychosocial studies. Her doctoral research at Cardiff University presented a qualitative study of British volunteer tourists in Kenya, focusing on postcolonial constructions of the toured Other, understandings of care in a tourism context, and the development of ethical identities over time. Émilie has taught on a variety of degree programmes, including social psychology and tourism studies, and has a strong interest in pedagogical innovation. Her research interests include volunteer tourism, tourists’ perceptions of poverty, spatialities of care, and longitudinal research methods. She is currently based at Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand.

Expiry: 13 Nov 2017