Presentation on theme: "Volunteering as a value in development: empowerment or exploitation? Daniel Stevens Head of Research, Institute for Volunteering Research Teaching Fellow,"— Presentation transcript:
Volunteering as a value in development: empowerment or exploitation? Daniel Stevens Head of Research, Institute for Volunteering Research Teaching Fellow, School of Public Policy, University College London Research Associate, Centre for Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus, SOAS 5 th November 2010
Structure of Country Analysis 1.Why ask the question? 2.The fall and possible rise of the concept 3.The value of the concept 4.The case of post-communist societies Structure of presentation
Structure of Country Analysis 1.Why it matters to me 2.Why it matters for academics 3.Why it matters to practitioners Why ask the question?
Structure of Country Analysis Volunteering associated with colonial paternalism and power inequalities Being revived in US, Europe and Japan amidst concerns about civic engagement The fall and rise of the concept?
Structure of Country Analysis Frequency of volunteering related articles in Science Direct journals
Structure of Country Analysis Frequency of volunteering related articles in development journals
Structure of Country Analysis Rise of the concept in practice? Civil society still dominant concept when looking at issues of participation Example of Albania Promotion by United Nations Volunteers – State of the Worlds Volunteering in 2011
Structure of Country Analysis Definitions are critical: broad vs narrow Value added over concept of civil society? Two main contributions 1.Redressing a weakness in the use of the term civil society: focus on functions and assumption of broad based engagement 2.Captures both empowerment and exploitation Value of the concept in theory
Structure of Country Analysis Conflation of NGOs with civil society What is largely absent are broad-based membership organizations in which ordinary people volunteer their time and money (Matveeva, 2008) Volunteering lens asks who (and why and with what effect) citizens are volunteering Value as corrective to civil society Case of post-communist states
Structure of Country Analysis Civicus survey of civil society found low levels of activism and engagement in civil society initiatives and organizations Civil society organisations are indulged by donors but ignored by government. Promotion of volunteering as a concept refocuses on grassroots engagement Value of the concept in practice Case of Albania
Structure of Country Analysis Are some types of volunteering more exploitative than others? Contrasting types in Uzbekistan Organisational structures within which volunteering takes place is key Value in highlighting potential for exploitation or empowerment
Structure of Country Analysis 1.Volunteering as a concept not yet rising 2.Potential to correct blind-spots in application of concept of civil society (but theory is o.k.) 3.Helps focus on who volunteers and what the impact is on individual (not just organisation) 4.Highlights the capacity for exploitation when volunteering occurs in hierarchical contexts Conclusions