'Looks good on your CV': the sociology of voluntourism recruitment in higher education
The recruitment for what has become known as ‘voluntourism’ takes place on campuses at many universities in Australia. Under the banner of ‘making a difference’ students are solicited to travel to developing countries to aid poor communities, to enjoy the sights and tastes of the distant and exotic ‘other’, the ‘experience’ touted as a useful addition to the curriculum vitae (CV). This article addresses the discursive terrain of voluntourism by providing an analysis of the ways in which students are invited to participate in such cultural practices while recruiters give little or no information about the lived realities of people in poor nations. We argue that voluntourism reinforces the dominant paradigm that the poor of developing countries require the help of affluent westerners to induce development. We contend that the recruitment of students by voluntourism organisations is an example of public pedagogy that reinforces a hegemonic discourse of need.