Travelers, teachers, or altruists?
Jakubiak, Cora Ann
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This multi-sited ethnographic study investigates the ways in which stakeholders and participants in short-term, volunteer English as a foreign language (EFL) teaching, or English language voluntourism programs, use a variety of discourses to render short-term, EFL teaching a form of volunteer tourism, a practice that involves “aiding or alleviating the material poverty of some groups in society” (Wearing, 2001, p. 1). Focusing specifically on the language in English language voluntourism promotional literature and on in-service and former program participants’ talk, I examine the discourses that circulate within English language voluntourism around language teaching and learning as well as development—broad categories that form the philosophical foundations on which volunteer tourism and other, similar intervention-type programs, rely. Organized into a manuscript format, this dissertation is comprised of an introduction, a methods chapter, and three separate articles. The first manuscript focuses on discourses of English language use within English language voluntourism, examining how sponsoring organizations and program participants conceptualize short-term English language teaching as a means of humanitarian aid in the Global South. The second manuscript attends to how in-service and former program participants operationalize the concept, development, and what forms they think development takes in and through English language voluntourism. The third manuscript explores the ways in which in-service and former program participants contest the dominant notions of development that circulate within English language voluntourism. The overarching analysis finds that within English language voluntourism discourse, English language use in the Global South is associated with conditions of hyperglobalism (Dicken, 2003), the perspective that world-wide consumer tastes are homogenized by Global North-based corporations and the primary role of the nation-state is to aid the global economic network rather than to provide social welfare services. Additionally, in-service and program participants hold differing, often contested, views of development: what it is and how it occurs (or doesn’t occur) within English language voluntourism. The study concludes by situating English language voluntourism within broader societal trends that reflect neoliberal shifts in state formation and new forms of citizenship. I also suggest some possible implications of this study for policy and practice.