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?
"A useful book for students on all sorts of courses … the book is written in a scholarly, informing and engaging style … The key thing about this book is that it reminds us that volunteering is political."
Journal of Social Policy
"Amid the sea of muddled thinking about civil society and social policy, Nina Eliasoph's work shines like a beacon of clarity and rigor. This honest and nuanced account of the politics of volunteering marks a landmark contribution to the field."
Michael Edwards, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos
"With unerring aim, Nina Eliasoph punctures some of the most cherished myths about volunteerism. Yet, with sensitivity and compassion, she shows volunteers struggling to do good while coping with contradictions not of their own making. The result is a remarkable book that brings the concept of civil society to life in all its moral messiness."
Francesca Polletta, University of California, Irvine
"The Politics of Volunteering is a pleasure to read. Nina Eliasoph helps us to understand how civic associations based on volunteering are different from but overlap with civic associations devoted to political activism, and how each may be led to cross the boundary between them. In clarifying the landscape of our public life she helps us to see how a deeper look at the total picture can help us to be more effective in our public engagement. This is a valuable book for students but also for the many thousands of volunteers and activists in our midst."
Robert Bellah, University of California, Berkeley
- A readily accessible and highly engaging overview of the role individuals can play in the bigger political picture
- Provides a critical intervention on the connections between volunteering/grassroots action and the wider political sphere
- Constructs a framework for evaluating the role of civic associations in social and political life, as well as in the lives of individual active citizens
- Draws on empirical studies, key data, and real-life case studies, from encouraging urban cycling, to protesting against war and injustice