Date of Defense
Date of Graduation
Global and International Studies
In an era of "stranger danger" where society indoctrinates fear of "the other," hospitality exchange and social networking website www.couchsurfing.org offers an alternative movement to these trends. Couchsurfing.org connects travelers with locals offering free accommodation in exchange for meaningful connection, cultural exchange, and the opportunity to "create inspiring experiences" within a rapidly growing, transnational community encompassing over 5 million members. This thesis takes a creative journalism approach to uncovering CouchSurfing's inner workings and impacts, understanding its historical context within globalization and the growth of hospitality exchange networks, and discovering its implications for the global community and global consciousness of vagabonds as a whole. Utilizing personal experiences and anecdotal accounts while "CouchSurfing" in Barcelona and France, the conversations and shared activities with over 12 CouchSurfers of both sexes and various backgrounds and ages reveal a common "CouchSurfing culture" that values the social, rather than economic, benefits. Moreover, the research concludes that CouchSurfing directly effects a users' sense of transnational identity, cultivates values of tolerance and cross-cultural understanding, and facilitates spontaneous, social adventures and authentic connections within a community that celebrates the diverse oddities that comprise the human condition.
Giroux, Kathryn, "The Roof With No Ceiling: Couch Surfing and the New Vagabond's Trek Through Nation-States, Cyberspace, and Global Consciousness" (2012). Honors Theses. 2217.
Honors Thesis-Open Access