4 Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Q. 1 (1975)

handle is hein.journals/npvolsq4 and id is 1 raw text is: 



JOURNAL OF VOLUNTARY ACTION RESEARCH    Volume 4, Numbers 1-2,
                                        Winter-Spring Issues, January-April, 1975

ABSTRACTS OF ARTICLES APPEARING  IN THIS ISSUE:

Organizational Change, Citizen Participation, and Voluntary Action,
by  J. Malcolm Walker.  pp. 4-22.

Citizen participation  is viewed here as a set of mechanisms for system change. Some relationships
between citizen participation and organized voluntary action are explored from a system change
perspective. The central argument  is that citizen participation and voluntary action are con-
ceptually quite different modes of organized effort, and are in  important respects antithetical.
This is most evident  in the different approaches to system change inherent in citizen participation
and voluntary action. Further, citizen participation and voluntary action embody different decision-
making structures and processes as well as associated member attitudes and behaviors;  they are
associated with different  theories of society; and they imply different roles for the state. The
central argument rests on a particular view of system change, and on a narrow  view of citizen
participation. Given  the associated assumptions, citizen participation and voluntary action are seen
here as compatible - at  the conceptual, and perhaps at the practical level - only under quite
limited conditions. Voluntary  action is broadly compatible only with weakened forms of citizen
participation, or, more  properly, with pseudo-participation. This broad compatibility also depends
upon the adoption of weaker  system change orientations.

The Economic  Role and Value of Volunteer Work in the United States: An Exploratory Study,
by  Harold Wolozin.   pp. 23-42.

The economic  value of volunteer service activities in the United States has received little
attention  from economists. This paper represents a first attempt at filling this gap, defining
volunteer work  in economic terms and estimating the total volunteer product of the nation for each
year  1929-1966, based on data from two national sample surveys of individuals and a small sample of
data  from major national volunteer organizations. These estimates are given separately  for orga-
nized  volunteer activity and for combined organized and informal activity. Suggestions are made for
a  variety of much-needed additional research in this area.

Voluntary  Organizations in a British City: The Political and Organizational Characteristics of
4,264  Voluntary  Associations in Birmingham,''
  by Kenneth Newton.  pp. 43-62.

  In spite of the enormous amount of theorizing by both sociologists and political scientists about
  the importance of voluntary organizations for the political health of modern society, relatively
  little empirical work has been done on systematic samples of a broad range and variety of such
organizations.  This exploratory study is based upon a list of four thousand two hundred and fifty
formally organized  voluntary associations which were found to exist in one large English city. About
thirty per  cent had been politically active (broadly defined) in local politics in a prior twelve
month  period. The data are consistent with the suggestion that membership size is an important
determinant of organizational  income, which,in turn, determines the ability of organizations to
employ  full-time, paid, administrative staff. A fourth organizational variable of importance is the
degree  to which organizations are well established as legitimate spokesmen for community interests,
and  these four organizational characteristics tend to cluster together in the same set of organiza-
tions which,  in general, tend also to be the most active in the political affairs of the city.

The  International Committee of the Red Cross and its Practice of Self-Restraint,
by   Morris Davis.  pp.  63-68.

The  International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) looks upon its humanitarian endeavors as
uniquely  counter-cyclical. Positive ICRC characteristics like impartiality and due proportion are,
it holds,  also universally recognized. Spokesmen for other international relief agencies, however,
have  sharply criticized the ICRC, viewing it as politically encumbered, excessively cautious, and
uncooperative.  The key to this interpretive disparity lies in the existential ambiguities implicit
in  self-restraint. Through response to weakness, non-partisanship, the eschewing of sentimentality,
and avoidance of  self-gratifying and self-enhancing behavior, the ICRC virtually expunges egotism.
At  the same time, the ICRC's persistent devotion to its principles may seem like a particularly
cloying  version of self-assertiveness to those in adjacent organizations. Indeed, the more the ICRC
practices  self-restraint the more it proclaims the self it prefers, a problem that must be recog-
nized  if coping strategies are to be developed.


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