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The 'Real Experience' industry: Student development projects and the depoliticisation of poverty

Jason Hickel

Participation in development projects in the Global South has become one of the most sought-after activities among American and British high school graduates and college students. In the United States this often takes the form of Alternative Spring Break trips, while in Britain students typically pursue development work during their 'gap years'. Development projects offer students a way to craft themselves in an alternative mould, to have a 'real experience' that marks them off from the cultural mainstream as 'authentic' individuals. The student development craze represents an impulse to resist consumerist individualism, but this impulse has been appropriated and neutralised by a new logic of consumption, transforming a profoundly political urge for change into a form of 'resistance' compatible with neoliberal capitalism. In the end, students' pursuit of self-realisation through development has a profoundly depoliticising effect, shifting their attention away from substantive problems of extraction and exploitation to the state of the inner self.

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Book Reviews

Nicholas Ferns, David Farley, Sue Beeton, Paula Mota Santos, and Rachel Luchmun

Ambassadors: How Youth Travel Integrated Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017) 360pp, ISBN-13: 978-0-226-46203-5, $35.00 (paper). The image of the young person backpacking across Europe during a “gap year” is so familiar as to be clichéd. As a

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What Am I Still Doing Here?

Travel, Travel Writing, and Old Age

Robin Jarvis

” emerged in sympathy with the revolutionary spirit of the age ( Jarvis 1997: 33–39 ). In more recent times a major social trend has been the rising popularity of gap-year travel. The Longitudinal Study of Young People in England, which tracked a large

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Cultivating Sustainability Literacy and Public Engagement in Intag, Ecuador

Linda D’Amico

water and food security and economic justice through concentric circles of involvement. I, like scores of others from the U.S., Europe and Japan, subscribed to stay informed about events and activities. Young Germans in their gap year, U.S., Italian and

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When Girls Lead

Changing the Playbook for Climate Justice

Tsun-Chueh Huang and Emily Bent

her senior year, for instance, Xiye explained I was going to take a gap year, but I've seen a lot of activists who are in college and are able to be activists and college students, so it's possible. I'm already balancing activism and school, so I

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Tactics and strategies to survive ‘student engagement’, or joining the Soil Society and other stories

A panel discussion

Jacqui Close

) ( 2008 ) Tender for a Study into Student Engagement , Bristol : Higher Education Funding Council for England . King , A. ( 2011 ) ‘ Minding the gap? Young people’s accounts of taking a gap year as a form of identity work in higher education

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Beyond the Glittering Golden Buddha Statues

Difference and Self-transformation through Buddhist Volunteer Tourism in Thailand

Brooke Schedneck

of the temple through Buddhist material culture. Brady, an American on a gap year, lived in Wat Srisoda in Chiang Mai for two months. During this time he commented on his blog about the beauty of the architecture, mural paintings, golden statues

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Disappointment and awkwardness as ugly feelings

Humanitarian affect in a “Global East”

Čarna Brković

: Ethnography of Serbian postsocialism]. Beograd: Centar za Studije kulture Fakulteta političkih nauka. Simpson , Kate . 2004 . “ ‘Doing development’: The gap year, volunteer-tourists and a popular practice of development. ” Journal of International

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Neil Amswych, Hillel Avidan, Sami Barth, Tony Bayfield, Francis Ronald Berry, Barbara Borts, Jeffrey Cohen, Bernard Davis, Michal Friedlander, Jeffrey Gale, Guy Hall, Richard Harries, Harry Jacobi, Laura Janner-Klausner, Deborah Kahn-Harris, Charles Middleburgh, Jonathan Magonet, Dow Marmur, Julia Neuberger, Phil Pegum, Danny Rich, Jonathan Romain, Walter Rothschild, Elli Tikvah Sarah, Victor Jeleniewski Seidler, Michael Shire, Judy Smith, Jackie Tabick, Charles Wallach, and Andrea Zanardo

words to make sure people knew that they could use them either for personal prayer or meditation. Rabbi Barbara Borts In 1975, after graduating from university in America, I was having a gap year, living and working in the Netherlands. I had