Capital Deployment and Exchange in Volunteer Tourism

James Thompson, Babak Taheri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


This paper draws upon Bourdieusian literature to examine how capitals are exchanged between stakeholders in volunteer tourism settings. Through exploratory interviews at schools in Cambodia and Kenya, we identify how volunteers and hosts cognise objectified cultural value for volunteer schools. However, due to the financial hardship associated with volunteer projects, the findings illustrate how a negotiated understanding is reached for Western volunteers' economic value. This study applies an interactionist perspective to examine how social interaction and cognition precede Bourdieu's structural capital exchanges. We argue that meaning development significantly influences capital exchange and, thus, by applying the theoretical framework of Bourdieu's practice theory with Blumer's symbolic interactionism we consolidate two previously un-synthesised concepts and contribute a new avenue for sociological research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102848
JournalAnnals of Tourism Research
Early online date23 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Bourdieu
  • Cultural capital
  • Economic necessity
  • Habitus
  • Symbolic interactionism
  • Volunteer tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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