Volunteers and volunteering in leisure: social science perspectives

L. Lockstone-Binney, K. Holmes, Karen M. Smith, T.G. Baum

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Leisure has been widely examined within the context of social science theory; however, little work has considered the range of social science disciplines and applied them to specific phenomena located within the leisure field. This paper adopts such an approach to conceptualise and examine volunteers and volunteering in leisure settings. In a disciplinary sense, therefore, the sociological view focuses upon the conceptualisation of volunteering as leisure, the psychological view seeks to understand motivations driving volunteering while the perspective of economists tends to complement these standpoints in terms of why people volunteer and further examines the value of volunteer contributions. Comparative analysis of the perspectives enunciated within these key disciplines provides a picture of the status of research relating to leisure volunteers and volunteering. The purposes of this paper are to identify gaps in current knowledge, drawing out conclusions and their implications for an improved understanding of this area as well as to enhance comprehension of disciplinary contributions to the study of leisure phenomena.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-455
Number of pages21
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number4
Early online date19 Nov 2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • leisure settings
  • social sciences
  • volunteers
  • volunteering
  • leisure

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