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Making Space for Volunteers: exploring the links between voluntary organizations, volunteering and citizenship

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2005
<mark>Journal</mark>Urban Studies
Issue number3
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)417-434
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


While contemporary social and political theory views voluntary activity as key to the promotion of active citizenship, this paper argues that the connections between voluntary welfare associations and citizenship are more complex than these discourses allow. Drawing on research undertaken in the Scottish city of Glasgow and debates about an increased bifurcation of the voluntary sector, it considers how the different settings within which voluntary welfare associations are organised can act to facilitate or constrain the development of active citizenship. In doing so, it focuses on the tensions voluntary associations face between organisational growth and restructuring in order to provide good quality services, on the one hand, and the positive engagement with volunteers and empowerment of local people on the other. It demonstrates how the drive towards organisational growth can result in disempowerment and the promotion of passive citizenship; however, it is argued, that this is not a necessary outcome. Organisations can and do address the need to deliver professional and complex welfare services while remaining committed to active participation.