Introduction to the special issue on unaffiliated volunteering: the universality and importance of volunteering

Yumagulova, L. & Handmer, J. (2021). Introduction to the special issue on unaffiliated volunteering: the universality and importance of volunteering. Environmental Hazards 20 (1) 1-6. 10.1080/17477891.2021.1877606.

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This special issue of Environmental Hazards provides a critical look at the contested relationship between formalised disaster management organisations and the emergent power of unaffiliated informal volunteers. Using international case studies, the five papers identify conceptual, contextual and practical challenges and opportunities. Much attention is given to definitions; these are important as through definitions whole categories of people and activity can be included as volunteering or excluded and treated as invisible. The emergent nature of informal volunteers provides surge capacity in emergencies – something all the papers in this special issue are concerned with in different ways. Another attribute examined is that informal volunteers, operating without the constraints typical of government agencies, can offer organisational agility, flexible problem-solving, and ready access to evolving information and communication technology. However, also examined are the potential problems of legal liability and questions about the rights and obligations of volunteers. A paper on indigenous volunteering in emergencies starts to fill a major gap in understanding of the roles of volunteers in indigenous communities. Four Australian cases are used to examine what informal volunteering could look like in action. It appears that governments almost everywhere, want more citizen involvement and self-reliance in emergencies, but on the government’s terms.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Volunteers or volunteering; unaffiliated volunteers; emergent volunteers; informal volunteers
Research Programs: Population and Just Societies (POPJUS)
Population and Just Societies (POPJUS) > Equity and Justice (EQU)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Systemic Risk and Resilience (SYRR)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2021 07:00
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2022 09:16

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