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The Politics of Volunteering


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Table of Contents

Introduction: What Are Civic Associations?
Chapter 1: Why Do Theorists Say Associations Are Crucial for Democracy?
Chapter 2: Volunteering and Political Activism
Chapter 3: Civic Association, the Market and Government: How Do Different Societies Balance Them Differently?
Chapter 4: Neoliberalism and Grassroots Organizations
Chapter 5: What Happens to Civic Participation in Conditions of Vast Social Inequality?
Chapter 6: Opening Up Civic Participation
Conclusion: Is Democracy in Our Future?

About the Author

Nina Eliasoph is associate professor of sociology at the University of Southern California. Her previous books include Making Volunteers and Avoiding Politics.


"A useful book for students on all sorts of courses thebook is written in a scholarly, informing and engaging style The key thing about this book is that it reminds us thatvolunteering is political." Journal of Social Policy "Amid the sea of muddled thinking about civil society and socialpolicy, Nina Eliasoph's work shines like a beacon of clarity andrigor. This honest and nuanced account of the politics ofvolunteering marks a landmark contribution to the field." Michael Edwards, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos "With unerring aim, Nina Eliasoph punctures some of the mostcherished myths about volunteerism. Yet, with sensitivity andcompassion, she shows volunteers struggling to do good while copingwith contradictions not of their own making. The result is aremarkable book that brings the concept of civil society to life inall its moral messiness." Francesca Polletta, University of California, Irvine "The Politics of Volunteering is a pleasure to read. NinaEliasoph helps us to understand how civic associations based onvolunteering are different from but overlap with civic associationsdevoted to political activism, and how each may be led to cross theboundary between them. In clarifying the landscape of our publiclife she helps us to see how a deeper look at the total picture canhelp us to be more effective in our public engagement. This is avaluable book for students but also for the many thousands ofvolunteers and activists in our midst." Robert Bellah, University of California, Berkeley

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