An excess of goodness? Volunteering among Aid professionals in Cambodia

Fechter, Anne-Meike (2017) An excess of goodness? Volunteering among Aid professionals in Cambodia. South East Asia Research, 25 (3). pp. 268-283. ISSN 0967-828X

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This paper explores the meaning of volunteering among professional aid workers. While they experience disenchantment in their daytime work, volunteering provides them with benefits lacking in their paid jobs. At the same time, a compensatory model does not capture the complex dimensions of this relationship. One motive behind their professional work – bringing about positive change for others - is also the driving force behind their voluntary practices. Such excess of doing good may be indicative of their overall commitment. If aid workers make sense of their actions within a framework of alienated labour, rendering their waged aid work as a commodity, volunteering emerges as a remedial response. At the same time, their paid and unpaid work is animated by the impulse of giving. Such co-existence implies that gifts and commodities are not mutually exclusive; or indeed that both can be understood, following Parry (1986), as emerging from a highly developed capitalist system.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Aid work, Volunteering, Cambodia, Gift, Charity
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Depositing User: Anne-Meike Fechter
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2017 15:36
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 17:46

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