Free to choose so why choose volunteering? Exploring independence and social action in the Finnish Church

Document type
Yeung, Anne Birgitta
Date of publication
1 April 2008
Voluntary Action: the journal of the Institute for Volunteering Research. Vol. 9; Number 1
Social welfare
Material type

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Through an analysis of church volunteering in Finland, this article looks at whether, in our late-modern times when individualism appears to be valued above solidarity, there is still a place for traditional institutions, traditional social ties and traditional altruism. What are the consequences of increased freedom? Why on earth would people still yearn for collective action? The conclusion is that compassionate and altruistic actions, such as volunteering, need not necessarily conflict with the values of freedom and individualism. In fact, volunteering is often experienced as a broadening of one's individuality: for example, by developing skills, encountering new situations and enjoying inner growth.

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