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There are great expectations of voluntary action in contemporary Britain but limited in-depth insight into the level, distribution and understanding of what exactly constitutes such activity. Drawing on extensive survey data and written accounts of citizen engagement, this book charts change and continuity in voluntary activity 1981 to the present. Addressing fundamental questions such as whether the public are cynical about or receptive to calls for greater voluntary action, the book considers whether respective government expectations of volunteering can really be fulfilled. This pioneering study combines a wealth of qualitative material from the Mass Observation Archive between 1981 and 2012, and data from many longitudinal and cross-sectional social surveys.
About the Author
Rose Lindsey is senior research fellow in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Southampton. John Mohan is professor of social policy at the University of Birmingham and director of the Third Sector Research Centre. Elizabeth Metcalfe is a former research fellow in the Third Sector Research Centre. Sarah Bulloch is a teaching fellow at the University of Surrey.
“An important and innovative contribution to understanding how and why people engage in voluntary activity; how important they feel it is in their lives; and the ways in which it contributes to the wider community.” — Colin Rochester, London School of Economics
"The book, which is part of the Third Sector Research Series, is groundbreaking and fascinating. I expected a tedious read, but what I encountered was elegant writing and innovative methods, paired with interesting findings. . . . I applaud the authors for not taking volunteering as a monolithic phenomenon, but rather successfully highlighting its complexities. . . . Be assured that the book is a must read for every student of volunteering and/or civic society." — Voluntary Sector Review