Virtuous Vacations: When the Global Consumer Citizen Hits the Road

Hillary Leonard, University of Rhode Island
This paper examines how in a post-industrial world, global citizen consumers increasingly seek virtue in their vacations. Isolated, self-estranged, and disenchanted by their work lives and the corporate culture that reproduces these conditions of ‘affluent alienation’, individuals increasingly look at the sphere of consumption for a sense of agency and empowerment. This paper makes use of a rich set of interview data to look at the politics of consumers that seek re-enchantment, communitas, and public virtue by participating in a growing niche of tourism called volunteer vacations. Volunteer vacations provide citizen consumers the opportunity to share in the responsibility for a wide-range of environmental, social, and political issues in our complex risk-ridden world. Most importantly, these working holidays link diverse groups of individuals with opportunities to engage themselves with each other and the world.
[ to cite ]:
Hillary Leonard (2008) ,"Virtuous Vacations: When the Global Consumer Citizen Hits the Road", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 213-216.