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Other titles in the Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology series:

Making Volunteers (11 Edition)

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Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

Volunteering improves inner character, builds community, cures poverty, and prevents crime. We've all heard this kind of empowerment talk from nonprofit and government-sponsored civic programs. But what do these programs really accomplish? In Making Volunteers, Nina Eliasoph offers an in-depth, humorous, wrenching, and at times uplifting look inside youth and adult civic programs. She reveals an urgent need for policy reforms in order to improve these organizations and shows that while volunteers learn important lessons, they are not always the lessons that empowerment programs aim to teach.

With short-term funding and a dizzy mix of mandates from multiple sponsors, community programs develop a complex web of intimacy, governance, and civic life. Eliasoph describes the at-risk youth served by such programs, the college-bound volunteers who hope to feel selfless inspiration and plump up their resumés, and what happens when the two groups are expected to bond instantly through short-term projects. She looks at adult "plug-in" volunteers who, working in after-school programs and limited by time, hope to become like beloved aunties to youth. Eliasoph indicates that adult volunteers can provide grassroots support but they can also undermine the family-like warmth created by paid organizers. Exploring contradictions between the democratic rhetoric of empowerment programs and the bureaucratic hurdles that volunteers learn to navigate, the book demonstrates that empowerment projects work best with less precarious funding, more careful planning, and mandatory training, reflection, and long-term commitments from volunteers.

Based on participant research inside civic and community organizations, Making Volunteers illustrates what these programs can and cannot achieve, and how to make them more effective.

Synopsis:

"This book is a pleasure to read--smart, insightful, tragic, ironic, and funny. Eliasoph brings to life the complicated relationships and dilemmas that surface in youth programs, and the twists and turns of the author's analysis are extremely compelling. This book is a must-read for those participating in NGOs, those trumpeting the virtues of volunteer work, and those social scientists interested in questions of government, community building, and civic culture."--Lynne Haney, New York University

"This clear and engaging book shows how community organizations really work. Nina Eliasoph tackles tensions that run through well-meaning organizations and lives, and she illustrates how people struggle with inequality, differences, having to be nice, and wanting to promote community but accomplishing much less than they desire or realize."--Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University

Synopsis:

Volunteering improves inner character, builds community, cures poverty, and prevents crime. We've all heard this kind of empowerment talk from nonprofit and government-sponsored civic programs. But what do these programs really accomplish? In Making Volunteers, Nina Eliasoph offers an in-depth, humorous, wrenching, and at times uplifting look inside youth and adult civic programs. She reveals an urgent need for policy reforms in order to improve these organizations and shows that while volunteers learn important lessons, they are not always the lessons that empowerment programs aim to teach.

With short-term funding and a dizzy mix of mandates from multiple sponsors, community programs develop a complex web of intimacy, governance, and civic life. Eliasoph describes the at-risk youth served by such programs, the college-bound volunteers who hope to feel selfless inspiration and plump up their resumés, and what happens when the two groups are expected to bond instantly through short-term projects. She looks at adult "plug-in" volunteers who, working in after-school programs and limited by time, hope to become like beloved aunties to youth. Eliasoph indicates that adult volunteers can provide grassroots support but they can also undermine the family-like warmth created by paid organizers. Exploring contradictions between the democratic rhetoric of empowerment programs and the bureaucratic hurdles that volunteers learn to navigate, the book demonstrates that empowerment projects work best with less precarious funding, more careful planning, and mandatory training, reflection, and long-term commitments from volunteers.

Based on participant research inside civic and community organizations, Making Volunteers illustrates what these programs can and cannot achieve, and how to make them more effective.

About the Author

Nina Eliasoph is associate professor of sociology at the University of Southern California. She is the author of "Avoiding Politics".

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Empower Yourself ix

Chapter 1: How to Learn Something in an Empowerment Project 1

Part One: Cultivating Open Civic Equality

Chapter 2: Participating under Unequal Auspices 17

Chapter 3: "The Spirit that Moves Inside You": Puzzles of Using Volunteering to Cure the Volunteer’s Problems 48

Chapter 4: Temporal Leapfrog: Puzzles of Timing 55

Chapter 5: Democracy Minus Disagreement, Civic Skills Minus Politics, Blank "Reflections" 87

Part Two: Cultivating Intimate Comfort and Safety

Chapter 6: Harmless and Destructive Plug-in Volunteers 117

Chapter 7: Paid Organizers Creating Temporally Finite, Intimate, Family-like Attachments 146

Chapter 8:: Publicly Questioning Need: Food, Safety, and Comfort 152

Chapter 9:: Drawing on Shared Experience in a Divided Society: Getting People Out of Their "Clumps" 165

Part Three: Celebrating Our Diverse, Multicultural Community

Chapter 10: "Getting Out of Your Box" versus "Preserving a Culture": Two Opposed Ways of "Appreciating Cultural Diversity" 183

Chapter 11: Tell Us about Your Culture: What Participants Count as "Culture" 190

Chapter 12: Celebrating . . . Empowerment Projects! 206

Conclusion: Finding Patterns in the "Open and Undefined" Organization 231

Appendix 1: On Justification 259

Appendix 2: Methods of Taking Field Notes and Making Them Tell a Story 261

Notes 265

References 281

Index 303

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691147093
Author:
Eliasoph, Nina
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Sociology
Subject:
Political Science and International Relations
Publication Date:
20110331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 21 oz

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Sociology » Children and Family
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Poverty
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Applied

Making Volunteers (11 Edition) Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$36.00 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691147093 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "This book is a pleasure to read--smart, insightful, tragic, ironic, and funny. Eliasoph brings to life the complicated relationships and dilemmas that surface in youth programs, and the twists and turns of the author's analysis are extremely compelling. This book is a must-read for those participating in NGOs, those trumpeting the virtues of volunteer work, and those social scientists interested in questions of government, community building, and civic culture."--Lynne Haney, New York University

"This clear and engaging book shows how community organizations really work. Nina Eliasoph tackles tensions that run through well-meaning organizations and lives, and she illustrates how people struggle with inequality, differences, having to be nice, and wanting to promote community but accomplishing much less than they desire or realize."--Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University

"Synopsis" by , Volunteering improves inner character, builds community, cures poverty, and prevents crime. We've all heard this kind of empowerment talk from nonprofit and government-sponsored civic programs. But what do these programs really accomplish? In Making Volunteers, Nina Eliasoph offers an in-depth, humorous, wrenching, and at times uplifting look inside youth and adult civic programs. She reveals an urgent need for policy reforms in order to improve these organizations and shows that while volunteers learn important lessons, they are not always the lessons that empowerment programs aim to teach.

With short-term funding and a dizzy mix of mandates from multiple sponsors, community programs develop a complex web of intimacy, governance, and civic life. Eliasoph describes the at-risk youth served by such programs, the college-bound volunteers who hope to feel selfless inspiration and plump up their resumés, and what happens when the two groups are expected to bond instantly through short-term projects. She looks at adult "plug-in" volunteers who, working in after-school programs and limited by time, hope to become like beloved aunties to youth. Eliasoph indicates that adult volunteers can provide grassroots support but they can also undermine the family-like warmth created by paid organizers. Exploring contradictions between the democratic rhetoric of empowerment programs and the bureaucratic hurdles that volunteers learn to navigate, the book demonstrates that empowerment projects work best with less precarious funding, more careful planning, and mandatory training, reflection, and long-term commitments from volunteers.

Based on participant research inside civic and community organizations, Making Volunteers illustrates what these programs can and cannot achieve, and how to make them more effective.

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