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By C. Rochester

Volunteering and voluntary companies became more and more very important in British social and political lifestyles yet at a value. higher prominence has ended in a slim and distorted view of what voluntary motion includes and the way it really is undertaken. This booklet reasserts the case for a broader view of voluntarism as a special set of self reliant activities.

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Rediscovering Voluntary Action: The Beat of a Different Drum

Volunteering and voluntary enterprises became more and more vital in British social and political lifestyles yet at a value. better prominence has resulted in a slender and distorted view of what voluntary motion comprises and the way it truly is undertaken. This ebook reasserts the case for a broader view of voluntarism as a special set of independent actions.

Extra info for Rediscovering Voluntary Action: The Beat of a Different Drum

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Working men’s clubs, which flourished in the late nineteenth and the whole of the twentieth century but which have been largely overlooked by the historians of voluntary action, attracted a wider membership than the other working-class organisations of the time – the trades unions and co-operative societies (Davis Smith, 1995). By 1927 there 32 The Context were 2,500 ‘workmen’s self-governed and self-supporting’ clubs affiliated to the Club and Institute Union (CIU) with a total membership of more than 900,000 (CIU, 1927: 1).

The impact on the UK was much more marked than in the USA, and we can identify a number of explanations for why this was so. In the first place, the composition of the two sectors was significantly different. The organisations that formed the American non-profit sector were essentially defined simply by their tax status, and they included a large number of very large bodies whose counterparts in the UK were not – for various reasons – seen as part of the voluntary sector. The social construction of the British sector was made clear by Kendall and Knapp (1996) in their contribution to the Johns Hopkins cross-national study of the non-profit sector.

Following the Reformation such unorganised, unruly and anarchic behaviour was suppressed as a threat to good order. Conviviality, however, found new expression in the associations and clubs which were such an important feature of seventeenth and eighteenth-century social life. : 225). A much quoted view of the English approach to voluntary action from a French visitor to nineteenthcentury Britain (quoted by Davis Smith, 1995: 9) observed that: In France, men like to meet for the sake of meeting: The Englishman is perhaps less sociable: he requires an object, a community of tastes, a peculiar tie, which draws him nearer his fellow men.

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