Voluntourism and Multispecies Collaboration

Life, Death, and Conservation in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

Paperback ($27.95), Hardcover ($60.00), Ebook ($27.95) Buy

Winner of the 2022 Edward M. Bruner Book Award

Voluntourism and Multispecies Collaboration is a lively ethnographic exploration of the world of conservation voluntourism and its engagement with marine and terrestrial biodiversity on the Honduran Bay Island of Utila, located in the ecologically critical Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

In this highly readable text, anthropologist Keri Vacanti Brondo provides a pioneering theoretical framework that conceptualizes conservation voluntourism as a green industry. Brondo argues that the volunteer tourism industry is the product of coloniality and capitalism that works to produce and sustain an economy of affect while generating inequalities and dispossession. Employing a decolonizing methodology based on landscape assemblage theory, Brondo offers “thinking-like-a-mangrove” to attend to alternative worldings in Utila beyond the hegemonic tourist spectacle–dominated world attached to the volunteer tourism industry. Readers journey through the mangroves and waters alongside voluntourists, iguanas, whale sharks, turtles, lionfish, and islanders to build valuable research experience in environmental management while engaging in affective labor and multispecies relations of care.

Conservation organizations benefit from the financial capital and labor associated with conservation tourism, an industry boosted by social media. This critical work asks us to consider the impacts of this new alternative tourism market, one that relies on the exchange of “affect” with other species. How are human socialities made through interactions with other species? What lives and dies in Utila’s affect economy? Why are some species killable? Who gets to decide?

"[Brondo's] argument is sophisticated yet accessible even for nonspecialists: clear and persuasive, with its keystone Brondo's personal experience and activities in the local community."—CHOICE

“Keri Brondo’s lively book offers an illuminating assessment of voluntourism at the nexus of conservation, capitalism, coloniality, and affect. Brondo strips away the boosterism that surrounds the care work of tourists to expose the dispossession that shapes human–nonhuman interactions within the marine and terrestrial environments of the Bay Islands of Honduras. Ethnographically and theoretically rich, Voluntourism and Multispecies Collaboration will be of great interest to students and scholars alike within political ecology, anthropology, geography, tourism studies, and Caribbean studies.”—Marcos Mendoza, author of The Patagonian Sublime: The Green Economy and Post-Neoliberal Politics
Voluntourism and Multispecies Collaboration
224 Pages 6 x 9
Published: February 2023Paperback ISBN: 9780816544356
Published: November 2021Hardcover ISBN: 9780816542604
Published: November 2021Ebook ISBN: 9780816544349

For Authors

The University of Arizona Press publishes the work of leading scholars from around the globe. Learn more about submitting a proposal, preparing your final manuscript, and publication.



The University of Arizona Press is proud to share our books with readers, booksellers, media, librarians, scholars, and instructors. Join our email Newsletter. Request reprint licenses, information on subsidiary rights and translations, accessibility files, review copies, and desk and exam copies.


Support the Press

Support a premier publisher of academic, regional, and literary works. We are committed to sharing past, present, and future works that reflect the special strengths of the University of Arizona and support its land-grant mission.