Volunteerism and Working with Volunteers
Volunteerism’s Historical and Social ContextsMurat Şentürk
Thousands of people all over the world these days volunteer their knowledge, skills, time, and material and nonmaterial potential without expecting any financial return in order to make the world a more liveable place and to provide social benefit. Problems such as the continued presence of inequality in income distribution, the increase in poverty, the deterioration of environmental and ecological balance, the experience of wars and disasters, the transformation of migration into humanitarian crises, and the prevalence of crime and addiction have increased the need for volunteering activities. In this respect, volunteering continues to take on an important role in many areas of daily life. Clearly, this function will gain more vital meanings, and the spread of volunteerism will be more necessary in the coming years. However, not understanding the social context of volunteerism from a historical and critical perspective may lead both to its proper positioning being inhibited as well as to changes in its inherent nature in society, values, beliefs, and living culture. This section discusses the political, economic, and cultural dimensions of volunteerism by addressing it from a sociological perspective. This section additionally explains the basic issues related to volunteerism and makes room for the critical dimensions about these issues based on a sociological style of thinking.