DOI :10.26650/B/SS49.2022.007.01   IUP :10.26650/B/SS49.2022.007.01    Full Text (PDF)

Volunteerism and Activism

Aynur Erdoğan Coşkun

The view in contemporary societies that citizens must be actively involved in the decision-making mechanisms for the better functioning of democracy is seen to be more and more accepted with each passing day. Whether informally or formally, organizationally or individually, citizens need to take the initiative in order to prosperously arrange the social and political life on an equal and free basis. Volunteerism and activism support active citizenship in different ways. Nevertheless, these two concepts are often handled in a completely different context both in the social science literature as well as in everyday language. This is because the profiles of volunteers and activists are thought to differ in terms of their fields of activity and their purposes. The common meaning of volunteering is to provide services to better social life in fields such, as poverty and education while the meaning of activism is to engage in a political struggle to democratize the political sphere. If so, then do these two concepts/ phenomena clearly differ from one another? Have these two concepts/phenomena converged in any way with the changes in today’s democratic processes and practices? Do the historically ascribed meanings allow the differences between them to disappear? This chapter describes the framework of the meaning that volunteerism and activism express in contemporary society and will additionally show the relationship civil society as volunteerism’s main field of activity has with social movements as activism’s field of activity and evaluate the sociological and theoretical similarities and differences of volunteerism and activism.


  • Abrahams, N. (1996). Negotiating power, identity, family, and community: Women’s community participation. Gender and Society, 10(6), 768-796. google scholar
  • Aksakoğlu, Y (2006). STK’lar için savunuculuk rehberi. Ankara: STGM - Sivil Toplum Geliştirme Merkezi. google scholar
  • Bora, A. (2004). Kamusal alan sahiden ‘kamusal” mı? In M. Özbek (Ed.), Kamusal alan (pp. 529-538). İstanbul: Hil Yayın. google scholar
  • Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241-258), New York: Greenwood Press. google scholar
  • Calhoun, C. (1993). Civil society and the public sphere. Public Culture, 5, 267-280. google scholar
  • Calhoun, C. (2015). Civil society and the public sphere: History of the concept. In J. D. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (Vol. 3, pp. 701-706). Waltham, MA: Elsevier. google scholar
  • Caputo, R. K. (1997). Women as volunteers and activists. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 26(2), 156-174. google scholar
  • Cohen, J. (1999). Strateji ya da kimlik: Yeni teorik paradigmalar ve sosyal hareketler. In K. Çayır (Ed.), Yeni sosyal hareketler: Teorik açılımlar (109-129), İstanbul: Kaknüs Yayınları. google scholar
  • Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, 95-120. google scholar
  • Coleman, J. S., Hoffer, T. (1987). Public and private high schools: The impact of communities. New York: Basic Books. google scholar
  • Çaha, Ö. (1994). Osmanlı>da sivil toplum. Ankara Üniversitesi SBFDergisi, 49(3), 79-99. google scholar
  • della Porta, M., & Diani, M. (2020). Toplumsal hareketler (P. Çakır & C. Gülbudak, Trans.), İstanbul: Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınların. google scholar
  • Ehrlich, T. (1997). Civic learning: Democracy and education revisited. Educational Record, 78(3/4), 57-65. google scholar
  • Eliasoph, N. (2003). Avoiding politics: How Americans produce apathy in everyday life. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. google scholar
  • Ellis, S., Noyes, K. (1990). By the people: A history of Americans as Volunteers. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. google scholar
  • Encarnacions, O. G. (2011). Assisting civil society and promoting democracy. In M. Edwards (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of civil society (pp. 468-479), New York, NY: Oxford University Press. google scholar
  • Erdoğan, E. et al. (Der.) (2020). Türkiye’de gönüllülük: Deneyimler, sınırlılıklar ve yeni açılımlar. İstanbul: İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları. google scholar
  • European Commission et al. (2009). System of national accounts 2008. New York: European Communities, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations and World Bank. google scholar
  • Georgeou, N., & Engel, S. (2011). The impact of neoliberalism and new managerialism on development volunteering: An Australian case study. Australian Journal of Political Science, 46(2), 297-311. google scholar
  • Habermas, J. (2004). Kamusal alan. In M. Özbek (Ed., Tran.), Kamusal alan (pp. 95-102), İstanbul: Hil Yayın. google scholar
  • Halman, L. (2003). Volunteering, democracy, and democratic attitudes. In P. Dekker & L. Halman (Eds.), The Values of volunteering. Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies (An International Multidisciplinary Series) (pp. 179-198), Boston, MA: Springer. google scholar
  • Hansen, M. (1993). Unstable mixtures, dilated spheres: Negt and Kluge’s the public sphere and experience, twenty years later. Public Culture, 5, 179-212. google scholar
  • Hopkins, A., & Wallerstein, I. (1995). Sistem karşıtı hareketler. İstanbul: Metis Yayınları. google scholar
  • Islamoglu, H. (2015). Civil society, concept and history of. In J. D. Wright (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Vol. 3, pp. 707-712). Waltham, MA: Elsevier. google scholar
  • Janoski, T. (2014). The dynamic processes of volunteering in civil society: A group and multi-level approach. Journal of Civil Society, 6(2), 99-118. google scholar
  • Kabakcı, E. (2020). Sosyolojiyi kurmak: Mostesquieu, Toqueville, Comte, Durkheim. İstanbul: Vadi Yayınları. google scholar
  • Keeter, S. et al. (2002). The civic and political health of the nation: A generational portrait. Medford: CIRCLE: Tufts University, The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement google scholar
  • Keyman, E. F. (2006). Türkiye’de sivil toplumun serüveni: İmkânsızlıkla içinde bir vaha. Ankara: STGM (Sivil Toplum Geliştirme Merkezi). google scholar
  • Lundberg, G. A., Schrag, C. C., & Larsen, O. N. (1970). Sosyoloji [Sociology] (Ö. Ozankaya & Ü. Gürkan, Trans.; Vol. 1). Ankara: Türk Siyasi İlimler Derneği Yayınları. google scholar
  • Markham, W. T., & Bonjean, C. M. (1995). Community orientations of higher-status women volunteers. Social Forces, 73(4), 1553-1571. google scholar
  • Marwell, G., & Oliver, P. (1993). The critical mass in collective action. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. google scholar
  • Melucci, A. (1999). Çağdaş hareketlerin sembolik meydan okuması. In K. Çayır (Ed.), Yeni sosyal hareketler: Teorik açılımlar (pp. 81-107), İstanbul: Kaknüs Yayınları. google scholar
  • Milroy, B. M., & Wismer, S. (2007). Communities, work and public/private sphere models. Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal ofFeminist Geography, 1(1), 71-90. google scholar
  • Mohan, G. (2002). The disappointments of civil society: the politics of NGO intervention in northern Ghana. Political Geography, 21, 125-154. google scholar
  • Musick, M., & Wilson, J. (1997). Who cares? Toward an integrated theory of volunteer work. American Sociological Review, 62, 694-713. google scholar
  • Musick, M., & Wilson, J. (1998). The contribution of social resources to volunteering. Social Science Quarterly, 79(4), 799-814. google scholar
  • Musick, M., & Wilson, J. (2008). Volunteers: A social profile. Bloomington, IL & Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press. google scholar
  • Negt, O., & Kluge, A. (2004). Kamusal alan ve tecrübe’ye giriş. In M. Özbek (Ed.), Kamusal alan (pp. 133-140), İstanbul: Hil Yayın. google scholar
  • Offe, C. (1999). Yeni sosyal hareketler: Kurumsal politikanın sınırlarının zorlanması. In K. Çayır (Ed.), Yeni sosyal hareketler: Teorik açılımlar (pp. 53-79), İstanbul: Kaknüs Yayınları. google scholar
  • Özbek, M. (2004a). Giriş: Kamusal alanın sınırları. In author (Ed.), Kamusal alan (pp. 19-90), İstanbul: Hil Yayın. google scholar
  • Özbek, M. (2004b). Giriş: Politik kamusal alan ve kolektif yaratıcılık. In author (Ed.), Kamusal alan (pp. 181-232), İstanbul: Hil Yayın. google scholar
  • Passy, F. (2001). Political altruism and the solidarity movement: An introduction. In M. Giugni & F. Passy (Eds.), Political altruism?: the solidarity movement in international perspective (pp. 3-26), Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. google scholar
  • Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney & Singapore: Simon & Schuster. google scholar
  • Putnam, R. D., & Goss, K. A. (2004). Introduction. In R. D. Putnam (Ed.), Democracies in flux (pp. 3-19), Oxford University Press. google scholar
  • T.C. Ministry of Development. (2018). On birinci kalkınma planı (2019-2023): Kalkınma sürecinde sivil toplum kuruluşları özel ihtisas komisyonu raporu. Ankara: T.C. Kalkınma Bakanlığı Yayınları. google scholar
  • Thoits, P. A., & Hewitt, L. N. (2001). Volunteer work and well-being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42(2), 115-131. google scholar
  • Tocqueville, A. (2016). Amerika’da demokrasi (Seçkin Sertdemir Özdemir, Tran.). İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları. google scholar
  • Touraine, A. (1985). An introduction to the study of social movements. Social Research, 52(4), pp. 749-787. google scholar


Istanbul University Press aims to contribute to the dissemination of ever growing scientific knowledge through publication of high quality scientific journals and books in accordance with the international publishing standards and ethics. Istanbul University Press follows an open access, non-commercial, scholarly publishing.