Led On Line
Presentazione - About us
Novita' - What's new
Lededizioni Home Page Ricerca - Search
Catalogo - Catalogue
Per contattarci - Contacts
Per gli Autori - For the Authors
Statistiche - Statistics
Cookie Policy
Privacy Policy

Carrefours: Migrants’ Support Volunteer Tourism in Lesvos

Giovanna Di Matteo


Lesvos (Greece) has become over the last few years the emblem of human migration to Europe. As a consequence of the so-called “migration crisis” in 2015, people from all over the world who, first in a self-organized way and then structuring themselves into associations and organizations, wanted to bring support to migrants in transit or blocked on the island arrived developing what I define migrants’ support volunteer tourism. After defining the historical and contemporary context, I define the tourist framework and in particular this (relatively) new form of volunteer tourism. Keeping in mind that tourism – often described as a panacea for the Mediterranean islands – does not necessarily mean encounter with the other, I try to analyse voluntary tourism from the point of view of the possible relationships that are created thanks to the intersection of two forms of contemporary mobility: tourism and migration.


encounter; islands; Lesvos; migration; volunteer tourism.

Full Text:



Apostopulos, Yorghos, and Sevil Sonmez. 2001. "Greek Tourism on the Brink: Restructuring or Stagnation and Decline?". In Mediterranean Tourism: Facets of Socioeconomic Development and Cultural Change, edited by Yorghos Apostopulos, Philippos Loukissas, and Lila Leontidou, 72-88. New York - London: Routledge.

Astyrakakis, Kostantinos, Makis Axiotis, and Efstratios Axiotis. 2014. Lesvos A Journey Back in Time. Municipality of Lesvos.

Bernardie-Tahir, Nathalie, and Camille Schmoll. 2014. "Opening Up the Island: A 'Counter-islandness' Approach to Migration in Malta". Island Studies Journal 9 (1): 43-56. https://www.islandstudies.ca/sites/default/files/ISJ-9-1-B-Tahir%2BSchmoll-B.pdf.

Bruner, Edvard. 2005. Culture on Tour: Ethnographies of Travel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Brunhes, Jean. 1920. Human Geography. London: Harrap.

Butcher, Jim. 2011. "Volunteer Tourism May Not Be as Good as It Seems". Tourism Recreation Research 36 (1): 75-76.


Cavallo, Federica Letizia. 2013. "Oggetti geografici, soggetti simbolici. Isole e insularità in geografia culturale". In Luoghi ritrovati. Itinerari di geografia umana tra natura e paesaggio, a cura di Antonio Paolillo, 177-205. Vidor: Ishtar.

Cavallo, Federica Letizia. 2019. "Ma che genere di isola è? L'insularità come archetipo femminile dall'età classica al Cinquecento". In L'apporto della Geografia tra rivoluzioni e riforme. Atti del XXXII Congresso Geografico Italiano, Roma, 7-10 Giugno 2017, a cura di Franco Salvatori, 2919-2926. Roma: A.Ge.I.

Cavallo, Federica Letizia, and Giovanna Di Matteo. 2020. "Volunteer Tourism and Lived Space: Representations and Experiences from Lesvos". Tourism Recreation Research 46 (1): 19-38.


Chtouris, Sotiris, and Demond Miller. 2017. "Refugee Flows and Volunteers in the Current Humanitarian Crisis in Greece". Journal of Applied Security Research 12 (1): 61-77.


Cohen, Erik. 1974. "Who is a Tourist? A Conceptual Clarification". The Sociological Review 22 (4): 527-555.


Daldeniz, Bilge, and Mark Hampton. 2011. "VOLUNtourists versus volunTOURISTS: A True Dichotomy or Merely a Differing Perception?". In Volunteer Tourism: Theory Framework to Practical Applications, edited by Angela Benson, 30-41. Oxon: Routledge.

Di Matteo, Giovanna. 2021. "Memorial Tourism and Citizen Humanitarianism: Volunteers' Civil Pilgrimage to the 'Life Jacket Graveyard' of Lesvos, Greece". In Citizen Humanitarianism at European Borders, edited by Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert and Elisa Pascucci, 160-177. London - New York: Routledge.

Foucault, Michel. 1986. "Of Other Spaces". Diacritics 16 (1): 22-27.


Franck, Anja Karlsson. 2018. "The Lesvos Refugee Crisis as Disaster Capitalism". Peace Review 30 (2): 199-205.


Glenti, Dimitra. 2019. "Representing Urban Change and the Urban 'Others' in Interwar Lesvos". In The City and the Process of Transition from Early Modern Times to the Present, edited by Magdalena Gibiec, Dorota Wisniewska, and Leszek Zitkowski, 110-126. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Guribye, Eugene, and Trond Stalsberg Mydland. 2018. "Escape to the Island: International Volunteer Engagement on Lesvos During the Refugee Crisis". Journal of Civil Society 14 (4): 346-363.


Guttentag, Daniel. 2009. "The Possible Negative Impacts of Volunteer Tourism". International Journal of Tourism Research 11: 537-551.


Haaland, Hanne, and Hege Wallevik. 2019. "Beyond Crisis Management? The Role of Citizen Initiatives for Global Solidarity in Humanitarian Aid: The Case of Lesvos". Third World Quarterly 40 (10): 1869-1883.


Hellenic Statistical Authority. 2011. https:// www.statistics.gr/en/2011-census-pop-hous.

Karkazis, John. 2016. "The Jewish Diaspora: From Spain to Chios". Middle East Forum 13: 39-52.

King, Russel. 2009. "Geography, Islands and Migration in an Era of Global Mobility". Island Studies Journal 4 (1): 53-84.

Kitching, George Tjensvoll, Hanne Haavik, Birgit Tandstad, Muhammad Zaman, and Elisabeth Darj. 2017. "Exploring the Role of ad hoc Grassroots Organizations Providing Humanitarian Aid on Lesvos, Greece". PLoS Currents Disasters.


Kizos, Thanasis, and Theodoros Iosifides. 2007. "The Contradictions of Agrotourism Development in Greece: Evidence from Three Case Studies". South European Society & Politics 12 (1): 59-77.


Kizos, Thanasis, and Maria Koulouri. 2005. "Economy, Demographic Changes and Morphological Transformation of the Agri-cultural Landscape of Lesvos, Greece". Human Ecology Review 12 (2). https://www.jstor.org/stable/24707532.

Klein, Noemi. 2007. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Toronto: Random House of Canada.

Knott, Alexandra. 2018. "Guests on the Aegean: Interactions between Migrants and Volunteers at Europe's Southern Border". Mobilities 13 (3): 349-366.


Lauth Bacas, Jutta. 2010. "No Safe Haven: The Reception of Irregular Boat Migrants in Greece". Ethnologia Balkanica 14: 147-167. https://borderlandscapes.law.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/201911/No%20safe%20haven-reception%20of%20boats.pdf.

MacCannell, Dean. 1992. Empty Meeting Grounds: The Tourist Papers. London - New York: Routledge.

Mason, Hugh. 2000. "Lesbos: Aegean Island". In Encyclopedia of Greece and the Hellenic Tradition, vol. II, 947-948. London - Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn.

McIntosh, Alison, and Anne Zahra. 2007. "A Cultural Encounter through Volunteer Tourism: Towards the Ideals of Sustainable Tourism?". Journal of Sustainable Tourism 15 (5): 541-556.


Mountz, Alison. 2015. "In/visibility and the Securitization of Migration: Shaping Publics through Border Enforcement on Islands". Cultural Politics 11 (2): 184-200.


N.C.C.B.C.I.A. January 1, 2021. https://infocrisis.gov.gr/11709/national-situational-picture-regarding-the-islands-at-eastern-aegean-sea-31-12-2020/?lang=en.

N.C.C.B.C.I.A. October 1, 2020. https://infocrisis.gov.gr/10582/national-situational-picture-regarding-the-islands-at-eastern-aegean-sea-30-9-2020/?lang=en.

N.C.C.B.C.I.A. February 6, 2020. https://infocrisis.gov.gr/7750/national-situational-picture-regarding-the-islands-at-eastern-aegean-sea-5-2-2020/?lang=en.

Papanis, Efstratios, and Eleni Kitrinou. 2011. "The Role of Alternative Types of Tourism and Ict-strategy for the Tourism Industry of Lesvos Island". Tourismos: An International Multidisciplinary Journal of Tourism 6 (2): 313-331. http://www.chios.aegean.gr/tourism/VOLUME_6_No2_art18.pdf.

Refugee Observatory. 2018. (The map and the action of the NGOs in Lesvos). University of the Aegean. https://refugeeobservatory.aegean.gr/en/node/735.

Rozakou, Katerina. 2012. "The Biopolitics of Hospitality in Greece: Humanitarianism and the Management of Refugees". American Ethnologist 39: 562-577.


Salvanou, Emilia. 2017. "The First World War and the Refugee Crisis: Historiography and Memory in the Greek Context". Historien 16 (1-2): 120-138.


Sandri, Elisa. 2018. "'Volunteer Humanitarianism': Volunteers and Humanitarian Aid in the Jungle Refugee Camp of Calais". Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 44 (1): 65-80.


Selwyn, Tom. 1996. The Tourist Image: Myths and Myth Making in Tourism. Chichester: Wiley.

Sheller, Mimi. 2018. Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes.London: Verso.

Sifneos, Evridiki. 2004. "On Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship of the Olive-Oil Economy in the Aegean: The Case of Lesvos Island". The Historical Review / La Revue Historique 1: 245-273.


Simoni, Valerio. 2014. "From Tourist to Person: The Value of Intimacy in Touristic Cuba". Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 12 (3): 280-292.


Sin, Harng Luh, Thimoty Oakes, and Mary Mostafanezhad. 2015. "Traveling for a Cause: Critical Examinations of Volunteer Tourism and Social Justice". Tourist Studies 15 (2): 119-131.


Skleparis, Dimitris, and Ioannis Armakolas. 2016. "The Refugee Crisis and the Role of NGOs, Civil Society, and Media in Greece". In Balkan Human Corridor: Essays on the Refugee and Migrant Crisis from Scholars and Opinion Leaders in Southeast Europe, edited by David Phillips, 171-184. New York: Columbia University, Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR).

Sourbès, Laurent. 1998. "Tourisme alternatif et durabililé dans l'île de Lesvos (Grèce)". Méditerranée 89: 81-86. https://www.persee.fr/doc/medit_0025-8296_1998_num_89_2_3055.


Stebbins, Robert. 1992. Amateurs, Professionals, and Serious Leisure. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.

Stefatos, Katerina, and Iosif Kovras. 2015. "Buried Silences of the Greek Civil War". In Necropolitics: Mass Graves and Exhumations in the Age of Human Rights, edited by Francisco Ferràndiz and Antonius Robben, 161-183. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.


Terkenli, Theano. 2015. "Networks of Dependency and Partnership, in Time of Crisis: Tourism Sustainability in the Aegean Greece". In Connections, Mobilities, Urban Prospects and Environmental Threats: The Mediterranean in Transition, edited by Theano Terkenli, Annick Douguedroit, and Louis Cassar, 123-152. Newcaste upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholar Publishing.

Trihas, Nikolaos, and Konstantinos Tsilimpokos. 2018. "Refugee Crisis and Volunteer Tourism in Lesvos, Greece". Journal on Tourism and Sustainability 2 (1): 42-56. http://www.ontourism.online/index.php/jots/article/view/43.

Tsartas, Paris, Anna Kyriakaki, Theodoros Stavrinoudis, Georgia Despotaki, Maria Doumi, Efthymia Sarantakou, and Kostantinos Tsilimpokos. 2020. "Refugees and Tourism: A Case Study from the Islands of Chios and Lesvos, Greece". Current Issues in Tourism 23: 1311-1327. .


Tsilimpounidi, Myrto, and Anna Carastathis. 2017. "The Refugee Crisis from Athens to Lesvos and Back: A Dialogical Account". Slovenský Národopis 65 (4): 404-419. doi:10.26363/SN.2017.4.03.

UNHCR. 2015. "Lesvos Island Snapshot, 31/12/2015". UNHCR Data Portal. https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/46645.

UNHCR. 2016. "Vulnerability Screening Tool. Identifying and Addressing Vulnerability: A Tool for Asylum and Migration Systems". www.unhcr.org/protection/detention/57fe30b14/unhcr-idc-vulnerability-screening-tool-identifying-addressing-vulnerability.html.

UNWTO. 2008. "International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics". https://www.unwto.org/statistics.

Urry, John. 1990. The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies. London: Sage.

Van Houtum, Henk, and Ton Van Naerssen. 2002. "Bordering, Ordering, Othering". Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie 93 (2): 125-136.


Wearing, Stephen. 2001. Volunteer Tourism: Experiences that Make a Difference.Oxon: CABI.


Wearing, Stephen, Tamara Young, and Phoebe Everingham. 2017. "Evaluating Volunteer Tourism: Has It Made a Difference?". Tourism Recreation Research 42 (4): 512-521.


DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/lcm-2021-001-dima

Copyright (©) 2021 Giovanna Di Matteo – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Call for papers Vol 11 (2024) No 1 - Discourses, Methods and Practices of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging: Towards a Global Shared Framework
Edited by Dr. Paola Catenaccio (Università degli Studi di Milano) and Dr. Fadia Nordtveit (Springfield College)

Authors have to read through the Information for Authors and the Author guidelines carefully before beginning the submission process. 
Deadline for papers submission: January 15th, 2024
Request for revision following peer review: by April 15th, 2024
Final versione due by May 15th, 2024
Publication: by June 2024


Call for papers Vol 11 (2024) No 2: “The Language of War: Lexicon, Metaphor, Discourse”
Edited by Dr. Anna Anselmo (Università degli Studi di Ferrara), Prof. Kim Grego (Università degli Studi di Milano), and Prof. Andreas Musolff (University of East Anglia)

Authors have to read through the Information for Authors and the Author guidelines carefully before beginning the submission process.
Deadline for papers submission: June 10th, 2024
Request for revision following peer review: by September 10th, 2024
Final version due by October 10th, 2024
Publication: by December 2024


Lingue Culture Mediazioni - Languages Cultures Mediation
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (27/11/2013 n. 380)
Online ISSN 2421-0293 - Print ISSN 2284-1881

Dipartimento di Lingue, Letterature, Culture e Mediazioni  
Università degli Studi di Milano

Editors-in-Chief: Paola Catenaccio (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Giuliana Garzone (IULM, Milano)
Editorial Board: Marina Brambilla (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Giovanni Garofalo (Università degli Studi di Bergamo) - Dino Gavinelli (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Antonella Ghersetti (Università di Venezia Ca’ Foscari) - Maria Grazia Guido (Università del Salento) - Elena Liverani (IULM, Milano) - Stefania Maci (Università degli Studi di Bergamo) - Andrea Maurizi (Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca) - Chiara Molinari (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Stefano Ondelli (Università degli Studi di Trieste) - Davide Papotti (Università degli Studi di Parma) - Francesca Santulli (Università di Venezia Ca’ Foscari) - Girolamo Tessuto (Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli) - Giovanni Turchetta (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Stefano Vicari (Università degli Studi di Genova)
International Scientific Committee: James Archibald (Università degli Studi di Torino) - Natalija G. Bragina (Institut Russkogo Jazyka im. A.S. Puškina; RSUH, Mosca) - Kristen Brustad (University of Texas at Austin) - Luciano Curreri (University of Liège) - Hugo de Burgh (University of Westminster) - Giuditta Caliendo (Université de Lille) - Giorgio Fabio Colombo (Università di Venezia Ca' Foscari) - Daniel Dejica (Universitatea Politehnica Timisoara) - Anna De Fina (Georgetown University, USA) - Claudio Di Meola, (Sapienza Università di Roma) - Lawrence Grossberg (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) - Stephen Gundle (University of Warwick) - Décio de Alencar Guzmán (Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém,  Brasile) - Matthias Heinz (Universität Salzburg) - Rosina Márquez-Reiter (The Open University) - John McLeod (University of Leeds) - Estrella Montolío Durán (Universitat de Barcelona) - M'bare N'gom (Morgan State University, Baltimore) - Daragh O'Connell (Cork University) - Roberto Perin (York University, Toronto) - Giovanni Rovere (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg) - Lara Ryazanova-Clarke (University of Edinburgh) - Françoise Sabban (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris) - Kirk St.Amant (Louisiana Tech University, University of Limerick/University of Strasbourg) - Paul Sambre (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) - Srikant Sarangi (Aalborg University) - Junji Tsuchiya (Waseda University, Tokyo) - Xu Shi (Zhejiang University)
Section Managers: Maria Matilde Benzoni, Università degli Studi di Milano (Modern history) - Paola Cotta Ramusino, Università degli Studi di Milano (Russian linguistics and translation) - Mario de Benedittis, Università degli Studi di Milano (Sociology) - Kim Grego Università degli Studi di Milano (English linguistics and translation) - Giovanna Mapelli, Università degli Studi di Milano (Spanish linguistics and translation) - Bettina Mottura, University of Milan (Chinese studies) - Mauro Giacomo Novelli, Università degli Studi di Milano (Contemporary Italian literature and culture) - Letizia Osti, Università degli Studi di Milano (Arab studies) - Maria Cristina Paganoni, Università degli Studi di Milano (English linguistics and translation) - Giuseppe Sergio, Università degli Studi di Milano (Italian linguistics) - Virginia Sica, Università degli Studi di Milano (Japanese studies)

Referee List

© 2001 LED Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto