Civil society and (re)embedding volunteering

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Given the importance of volunteering scholars, policy makers, and practitioners all around the globe embrace the embedding of volunteering. Embedding of volunteering is the act of establishing volunteering as a convention or norm in society. Besides volunteer-involving organizations such as nonprofit and public organizations, other organizations or institutions embed volunteering through third-party volunteering (e.g., governments, corporations, and educational institutes). Other concepts such as family - and single volunteering, National Days of Service, and voluntourism can also be linked to third-party volunteering. Oftentimes, third parties and their volunteers aim to achieve their own organizational or individual goals, leading to an instrumental use of volunteering. This chapter address which tensions emerge when third parties (re-)embed volunteering with an instrumental approach? We argue that instrumental third-party volunteering diminishes the "free choice" of volunteering, limits volunteers' autonomy, and violates the "unpaid" characteristic of volunteering. Subsequently, these tensions affect the value distribution of instrumentalized volunteering as equal distribution of values is seldomly achieved. We conclude with a research agenda on how third party (re-)embedding of volunteering can better be reconciled with the goals of volunteers and communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Research Agenda for Civil Society
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781800378155
ISBN (Print)9781800378148
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2022


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