Social Movements and Activist-Protest Volunteering

  • Jacob Mwathi Mati
  • Fengshi WU
  • Bob Edwards
  • Sherine N. El Taraboulsi
  • David H. Smith


Scholars of volunteering have long excluded the radical, political forms of formal volunteering from their analytical gaze, especially more contentious social movements and collective activist-protest volunteering. This false dichotomy hinders scholarship by perpetuating analytical blinders. The present chapter helps remedy this oversight by reviewing research and theory highlighting overlaps between conventional volunteering, including conventional political volunteering, and unconventional, social movement activism as volunteering. Conventional political volunteering and unconventional political activism are bothmeans for inclusion, participation, accountability, and change (sometimes even democratization) of polities. Both conventional political volunteering and protest activism rely on commitment, values, solidarities, and often altruism, as ordinary citizens seek solutions to collective problems/issues.

We therefore conclude that scholarship on conventional volunteerism and unconventional, protest volunteering need to pursue more integrated analytical approaches.


Civil Society Collective Action Social Movement Political Participation Civic Engagement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob Mwathi Mati
    • 1
  • Fengshi WU
    • 2
  • Bob Edwards
    • 3
  • Sherine N. El Taraboulsi
    • 4
  • David H. Smith
    • 5
  1. 1.Kenya
  2. 2.China
  3. 3.USA
  4. 4.Egypt
  5. 5.USA

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