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dc.contributor.advisorHill, Douglas
dc.contributor.advisorMostafanezhad, Mary
dc.contributor.authorGuiney, Tess Catherine
dc.date.available2015-07-09T20:49:40Z
dc.date.copyright2015
dc.identifier.citationGuiney, T. C. (2015). Orphanage Tourism in Cambodia: The Complexities of ‘Doing Good’ in Popular Humanitarianism (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5791en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10523/5791
dc.description.abstractAlternative forms of tourism within Global South nations are increasingly popular for Western tourists seeking more adventurous, ethical or ‘authentic’ tourism experiences. One such tourism form – orphanage tourism – sees tourists from wealthier, predominantly Western, nations visiting residential care centres in ‘developing’ nations to visit, volunteer at, or make donations to poor children. This thesis explores orphanage tourism within the context of Cambodia, adopting a critical geography approach to investigate the intricate and contentious aspects of tourism within this space. A critical geography approach to orphanage tourism enables an examination of the range of influences upon orphanage tourism at multi-scalar levels. Through this, I explore the complexity of orphanage tourism’s genesis and development, examining what prompts tourists to participate, the impacts that this tourism form has, and the anti-orphanage tourism campaigns that have developed to resist orphanage tourism, both in Cambodia and internationally. This thesis argues that those who participate in orphanage tourism are largely motivated by a particular perception of ‘developing’ nations and their populations. I argue that through popular geopolitical commentaries, tourists’ perceptions of Cambodia are shaped into an imaginative geography of suffering, desperation and poverty. Such a construction arguably promotes a perception that popular humanitarian intervention is needed and appropriate, or indeed required, of a responsible neoliberal subject. The promotion of children within aid campaigns and celebrity humanitarianism similarly results in popular humanitarian forms focused upon children to be particularly popular. The tourist imagination of Cambodia has a significant impact upon how orphanage tourism materialises. For example, through these mediated commentaries on child suffering, a desire for intimacy is created, prompting ‘hug-an-orphan’ vacations. As a result, children are expected to interact with tourists in particular forms. I examine the pressure that this places on the children within these centres, extending upon emotional labour literature. Geopolitical representations of suffering and poverty similarly create an expectation of poverty and difference, with less scrupulous orphanages encouraged to conform to these stereotypical representations to garner donations. Subsequently, understanding of complex situations is erased and dominant perceptions are reinforced and played upon. Promoted as a beneficial and benign tourism form, orphanage tourism can be seen as having a profound impact upon the children within these centres. Orphanage tourism is largely motivated by a desire to help those in need. Indeed, there are arguably significant benefits of this tourism form. Ultimately, however, this thesis argues that orphanage tourism extends neoliberal principles and results in more costs than benefits for the children within these centres, as well as the wider system of residential care in Cambodia. In addition, such individualised and emotional responses to suffering arguably erase pressure for political responses to the structural violence within the international system that results in such inequality and poverty. Finally, I examine anti-orphanage tourism campaigns that have developed to resist orphanage tourism. Over the past five years, several Cambodian as well as international groups have rallied against orphanage tourism. These groups have prompted important changes within the orphanage tourism sector. Many protesters claim that the industry facilitates the encroachment of neoliberal practices into the lives of these children, with popular humanitarianism representing the ‘soft-edge’ of neoliberalism. The future of orphanage tourism in Cambodia will depend on a complex number of factors, with these groups being especially influential. In this thesis I argue that there is an urgent need to consider the role of international processes that create the inequality on which orphanage tourism predicated. Popular and celebrity humanitarianism focus almost exclusively on the symptoms of poverty rather than the causes and for true changes to occur, a significant reconfiguration of the international system is required.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectOrphange tourism
dc.subjectCambodia
dc.subjectVolunteer tourism
dc.subjectPopular Geopolitics
dc.subjectPoverty
dc.subjectChildren
dc.subjectOrphanages
dc.subjectImpacts
dc.subjectPopular Humanitarianism
dc.subjectCelebrity humanitarianism
dc.subjectKhmer Rouge
dc.subjectImaginative geographies
dc.titleOrphanage Tourism in Cambodia: The Complexities of ‘Doing Good’ in Popular Humanitarianism
dc.typeThesis
dc.date.updated2015-07-09T03:18:21Z
dc.language.rfc3066en
thesis.degree.disciplineGeography and Tourism
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Otago
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
otago.interloanyes
otago.openaccessOpen
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