Without volunteers and voluntary work many social goods and services will not be affordable. Due to this, the interrelationship between volunteering and social inequality is abridged to the positive effects of voluntary work as follows: First, marginalized social groups benefit from the goods and services provided by volunteers. Second, volunteers benefit from their engagement in terms of social inclusion, health benefits and skill training. With regard to the empirical findings linking the determinants and consequences of volunteering the mentioned perspective seems to be partial. The dissertation raises the question, how and in what fields volunteering reproduces social inequality or contributes to its genesis. From a theoretical point of view, the limited access of women, ethnical minorities and foreigners as well as people with a lower social status to voluntary work and hierarchical positions within it, leads to unequal possibilities to act and to actualize one's own interests. The hierarchical segregation within volunteering mirrors the hierarchical segregation in paid work. Gender, education and occupational status determine the hierarchical position and lead to further accumulation of prestige, symbolic and social capital. Concluding the existing empirical findings, volunteering seems to contribute to the reproduction of social inequality. The findings based on the quantitative analysis of the Austrian micro-census data on volunteering (2006; N=11.657) support this thesis. There is empirical evidence within the Austrian data that the voluntary sector partly replicates the hierarchical and educational elite structure of paid work life. Traditionally gender and age segregation as well as the still sacrosanct meritocratic link between ability and skills, education level, diligence and societal and organizational position, shape the access to different levels of voluntary tasks and functions.
|Publikationsstatus||Veröffentlicht - 2014|