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Reviewed here is global research on how 13 types of Voluntary Membership Associations (MAs) have significantly or substantially had global impacts on human history, societies, and life. Such outcomes have occurred especially in the past 200+ years since the Industrial Revolution circa 1800 CE, and its accompanying Organizational Revolution. Emphasized are longer-term, historical, and societal or multinational impacts of MAs, rather than more micro-level (individual) or meso-level (organizational) outcomes. MAs are distinctively structured, with power coming from the membership, not top-down. The author has characterized MAs as the dark matter of the nonprofit/third sector, using an astrophysical metaphor. Astrophysicists have shown that most physical matter in the universe is dark in the sense of being unseen, not stars or planets.
Migration has changed the social, cultural, political, and economic landscape of many countries. Mutual aid organizations, ethic-oriented religious organizations, hometown associations, and various other types of ethnic and immigrant organizations emerged to respond to the particular needs of immigrant communities. For countries with a tradition of civic participation, integrating immigrants into civic life becomes an important issue. This article reviews the literature on ethnic/immigrant associations and minorities’ or immigrants’ voluntary participation in major developed countries that have experienced a significant increase of immigrants, particularly after the 1990s. In terms of ethnic/immigrant associations, the author reviews the historical background of research in this area, the size and scope, the formation and development, the memberships, and the financial well-being of these associations, the roles they play in helping immigrants acculturate into the host countries, and the classification of ethnic/immigrant associations. Particular attention is given to immigrants’ mutual aid organizations, ethnic cultural organizations, ethnic-oriented religious organizations, and hometown associations. The author also reviews the literature that examines the factors influencing minorities’ and immigrants’ voluntary participation, their formal and informal volunteering, as well we immigrant youth’s voluntary participation.
This is the first comprehensive overview of third sector research in Australasia, prepared by leading researchers, Jenny Onyx in Australia and Garth Nowland-Foreman in Aotearoa New Zealand. It examines both the current state of knowledge of the sector and also the research infrastructure behind the sector. Part one documents the size and scope of the sector, as well as the development of the organisation ANZTSR and its journal. Part two examines relations with the state in each country, the rapid growth in funding services, but also effects of neo-liberal ideological and policy constraints. Part Three documents the current state of volunteering and philanthropy (giving) in both countries. Part Four examines the world of citizen action, building social capital within local communities, and also advocacy and political protest. The concluding Part Five examines some of the current developments in civil society, new emerging forms, and challenges for the future.