As it is believed that volunteerism can help national development by promoting economic development and improving social integration, the state is likely to encourage the voluntary sector, even in countries where democracy is less established. As exploratory research, this chapter applies qualitative methods and combined sampling techniques of stratified purposive sampling, snowball sampling, and purposive sampling strategy to select 30 interviewees from six voluntary service agencies in a city between 2006 and 2014. The findings include: at the international level, the state promotes volunteerism to enhance cultural understanding and exchange. At the domestic level, the state mainly has the following three roles in promoting volunteerism: (1) establishing national monitoring system as a policy maker in volunteering; (2) legitimatizing the grassroots voluntary service organizations as a policy executor; and (3) creating volunteer schemes and organizing top-down movements as a service organizer. The implications of the relationship between volunteerism and the state are also discussed.
- State–NGO relations
- Moral resources
- Political capital
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Formal volunteering should be an organized action (Brilliant, ed., 1995, pp. 2469–2470). However, an altruistic behavior (such as offering a bus seat to an elderly person) can sometimes be considered an act of informal volunteering, which does not necessarily require any organization. For example, according to the working definition for the State of the World’s Volunteerism Report, the term “volunteerism” refers to “social behaviour undertaken by people that is characterized by four main features. First, it is useful as ‘service’ or ‘productive work,’ not purely enjoyment for its own sake. Second, it is directed to other people outside the immediate family/household. If it takes place inside the family/household, the action is considered ‘informal care,’ ‘family care,’ or ‘household care,’ not volunteering. Third, volunteerism must be non-compulsory, thus not coerced or forced externally by law, contract, or other powerful social influences. Fourth, while the act of volunteering, the expression of volunteerism, may receive some expense-reimbursement or other financial payments, it is not done primarily for monetary gain, and the payments in monetary terms are usually less than the economic value of the volunteer work done.” Therefore, this chapter will take a much broader view of volunteerism to include not only formal service to others but also self-help, mutual aid, cooperation, social activism, political advocacy, civic engagement, political campaigning, religious and faith-based service, business or professional association activity, and other forms of activity that fall within the parameters outlined above.
According to organizational theory, an institutional system produces an organization. Serfs were dependent on the landlords, and the landlords were responsible for taking care of the serfs.
The CYL was established in 1922 and is second only to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in terms of political power. According to its constitution, the CYL should absolutely support and unquestioningly obey the Party as “an assistant and reserve army of the CCP” (General Principles of Chinese Communist Youth League Constitution, 2008). As a youth organization under the auspices of the CCP, the CYL aims to train China’s youth to become faithful citizens who are willing to work toward the Party’s goals (Funnell, 1970).
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Xu, Y. (2017). Volunteerism and the State: Understanding the Development of Volunteering in China. In: Butcher, J., Einolf, C. (eds) Perspectives on Volunteering. Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-39899-0_11
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