Varieties of Mutual Support and Voluntary Action - A Study of Finnish Self-Help Groups and Volunteers

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Title: Varieties of Mutual Support and Voluntary Action - A Study of Finnish Self-Help Groups and Volunteers
Author: Nylund, Marianne
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Policy
Date: 2000-08-17
Language: en
Thesis level: Doctoral thesis
Abstract: My study builds a conceptual framework of phenomena mutual support and voluntary action. I describe how self-help groups and volunteering are organised, what kinds of tasks are performed, by whom and for whom. In addition, mutual support and voluntary action will be located in the Finnish society according to their relation to other sectors (public sector, market sector, and households). Goals of self-help groups and motives of volunteers are studied with a variety of data (questionnaires, documents, articles) and methods. The study consists of five articles and a summary article. In the first article, voluntary social and health organisations are examined in relation to the public sector in four countries Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Article two describes the structure and activities of self-help groups (n=173), and article three illustrates how self-help groups and voluntary activities are combined in the associations of unemployed. In article four, volunteers' (n= 479) altruistic and individualistic motives are analysed, and in article five, young volunteers' (n=664) motives are compared in five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden). In the summary article, the results are discussed in their historical, conceptual, and societal context. The results clearly indicate that self-help groups, volunteers, and voluntary associations neither can be defined as one phenomenon in voluntary sector, nor can they be located in one spot in a societal framework. Historically, self-help groups are based on the ideologies of self-help and mutual support (mutualism), and voluntary action on Christian charity and philanthropy. The Finnish voluntary sector in the 1990s can be described by a mixture of motives (individualistic-altruistic-togetherness), various voluntary activities (individual, group, organisational), hybrids of associations ('we-for-us', 'I for-you') and self-help groups (citizen, associational, public, mixed; personally oriented, empowerment-oriented). Self-help groups and voluntary associations are characterised by innovations and evaluation of public services. Through mutual support and voluntary action, citizens acquire experiential knowledge that could be useful in planning and implementing social and health services.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen ( Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database ( Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta ( Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Subject: self-help groups - motivation - membership
mutual support
voluntary action - altruism

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