Enlivened geographies of volunteering: situated, embodied and emotional practices of voluntary action

Fiona M. Smith, Helen Timbrell, Mike Woolvin, Stuart Muirhead, Nicholas Fyfe

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    43 Citations (Scopus)


    Examining the everyday practices and feelings of volunteering, in particular their situated, emotional and embodied nature, serves to place the experiences of volunteers centrally in accounts of what matters in the doing of volunteering and goes beyond service provision or active citizenship. Using qualitative evidence from three collaborative research projects, we present enlivened geographies of volunteering which focus on: the situatedness of formal volunteering in place and the negotiation of local 'moral economies' of norms and expectations surrounding access to volunteering opportunities and the practices of volunteering; complex positionings of informal volunteering in biographies of social participation; and intersections of embodiment and emotions in experiences among environmental volunteers. We contribute to the development of social geographies which are 'more-than-representational' and argue that connecting insights on everyday practices of volunteering with wider policy and practice agendas requires a focus on the enduring, but also emergent and excessive nature of the spaces of doing volunteering, on the relational nature of volunteering, and on opening up debates in the networks of research-policy-practice which understand spaces of volunteering as entailing more than volunteering.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)258-274
    Number of pages17
    JournalScottish Geographical Journal
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Formal volunteering
    • informal volunteering
    • environmental volunteering
    • Scotland
    • 3RD SECTOR
    • POLICY
    • SPACE
    • WORK
    • HEALTH


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