chapter  4
16 Pages

Volunteer tourism, dis-identification, and the construction of “authentic” travel experience

ByKaylan C. Schwarz

Within the field of tourism studies, authenticity has been a recurring concept through which scholars have attempted to comprehend the complexity of individuals’ overseas experiences. This chapter explores how a group of UK-based international volunteers employed authenticity within their personal travel narratives and on what bases they claimed to have encountered the “real Kenya.” Drawing on the notion of “dis-identification,” this chapter also reveals the ways participants strategically distanced themselves from other types of travelers, their category labels and connotations. These responses illuminate the performative task of narrative, including what types of “non-identities” young people may seek to secure and convey through their telling.