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Theories of Associations and Volunteering

  • David H. Smith
  • Stijn Van Puyvelde

Abstract

This chapter reviews key theories relevant to the other Handbook chapters and also relevant to potential chapters not included here. Smith’s basic contention is that most voluntaristics scholars (Smith 2013) view relevant theory far too narrowly, seriously limited by (a) academic discipline blinders and also (b) avoidance of topics reflecting social deviance and/or social conflict. As a corrective to such intellectual limitations, we include here brief reviews of theories that deal with (a) and (b). Many more theories of individual participation in volunteering and citizen participation are reviewed in Handbook Chapter 31, as relevant micro-theories.

We distinguish among (a) macro-theories that deal with the nature of the nonprofit sector as a whole, (b) meso-theories that explain aspects of nonprofit membership associations (MAs) as organizations or that explain looser collectivities like social movements or social conflict/protest campaigns, and (c) micro-theories that explain membership and participation by individuals as volunteers/members/participants/activists or that explain pro-social behavior more generally.

Keywords

Civil Society Social Movement Voluntary Association Voluntary Sector Civic Participation 
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

  • David H. Smith
    • 1
  • Stijn Van Puyvelde
    • 2
  1. 1.USA
  2. 2.Belgium

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