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Rethinking Volunteering as a Form of Unpaid Work

This article aims to problematize the ways in which volunteering is presently conceptualized, theorized, and studied by positioning it as a form of unpaid labor. Over six focal points, the article highlights areas that deserve closer scrutiny: the question of when volunteering is work; the formal–informal and paid–unpaid distinctions of work; the notion of “choice,” especially volunteering as the lack of paid work choices; the assumption that volunteer work is similar to informal work; and a recognition that volunteering consists of many different forms of activities, not just one.

Credit: Charlotte Overgaard

Date: 2019