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Applying Neo-Colonialism to the Example of Voluntourism

The purpose of this assignment is for you to reflect on the concept of neo-colonialism by applying it to the example of “voluntourism.” In addition to the textbook, you will be drawing from the following sources:

Biddle, Pippa. (2016, February 18). The Voluntourist's Dilemma: What is the Cost of Giving Back? Go Overseas. Retrieved from

Quenville, Brad (Producer). (2015, October 10). Volunteers Unleashed [Video File]. Retrieved from

Rosenberg, Tina (2018, September 13). The business of Voluntourism: Do Western Do-gooders Actually do Harm? The Guardian. Retrieved from

Do not draw from or cite sources other than the textbook and the three sources listed above.

First, do the following:

Read the following sections from the textbook:

  • Chapter 2: "The Third World and Neo-colonialism" (pp. 55-56)
  • Chapter 9: "Imperialism and Colonialism" (pp. 331-337)

Watch the following video:

  • "Volunteers Unleashed" (

Read the following blog post by Pippa Biddle:

  • "The Voluntourist's Dilemma" (

Read the following news article by Tina Rosenberg:

  • "The business of voluntourism"

Next, write an essay in which you apply the concept of neo-colonialism to the example of voluntourism. While you may use brief quotes from the sources, the majority of your answers should be in your own words. In other words, I want you to explain your own understanding of the ideas, not simply quote the sources. Your essay should include the following:

  • An introductionin which you explain the ideas of voluntourism and neo-colonialism as well as outlining your main supporting points.
  • A discussionof at least three ways that voluntourism might be considered a form of neo-colonialism. In your discussion, you should refer to specific examples from the video and readings. (Note: the best answers will also draw from concepts from lecture and the textbook such as “white man’s burden,” ethnocentrism, core-periphery relations, transnational corporations, globalization, Orientalism, etc.)
  • A discussionof ways to improve voluntourism in order to avoid its neo-colonial characteristics
  • A brief conclusionin which you summarize your key points. (Note: you can also use your conclusion to raise additional unanswered questions or concerns.)

Make sure to organize your thoughts into a cohesive argument. A strong introductory paragraph can help you keep your paper focused and guide the reader through the whole argument.

  • Your entire response should be typed, have a length of approximately 900-1200 words(not including your works cited list), in 10- or 12-point font, and be double-spaced. Do not include your name on your assignment. Instead, include only your student number on the first page. You do not need a title page.
  • Be specific and explicit in your responses: someone with no prior knowledge of this topic should be able to read what you’ve written and gain a reasonable understanding of the issues being discussed. This means you need to explain key terms in your discussion.

This is an Individual assignment. You may not copy the work of other students and must cite your sources correctly (preferably using APA style), both in your text and in a works cited list (bibliography) at the end of your discussion. See below for tips on citing sources.

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