Voluntourism and the Contract Collective

29 August 2019

Critiques of the voluntourism industry focus on power imbalances, colonial legacies, and white privilege. Drawing on the literatures of development and voluntourism to find points of comparison, we argue that the voluntourism industry reflects myriad de-velopment problems, such as structural challenges, the fungibility of aid, corruption, representation, worker narratives, and temporality. We assert that many of the prob-lems inherent in voluntourism could be remedied by the evolution of a contract norm between volunteers and their local partners, where reciprocity and transparency might practically serve as a corrective to voluntourism's most entrenched problems.