Brill Research Perspectives
Editor-in-Chief: David Horton Smith
The bi-monthly issues of the Voluntaristics Review focus on various aspects of Voluntaristics as an international and interdisciplinary field and as an emerging academic discipline. Included are review articles on special topics related to the nonprofit sector, voluntary sector, third sector, civil society (sector), social economy, solidarity economy, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, social investment, solidarity, philanthropy, giving, grants economy, foundations, volunteering (both formal and informal), civic engagement, community engagement, engagement, citizen participation, participation, nonprofit, not-for-profit, nonprofit organizations (NPOs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), voluntary associations, associations, sodalities, self-help groups, mutual aid groups, support groups, interest groups, pressure groups, cooperatives, nonprofit agencies, civil liberties, democracy, democratization, social movements, social protest, and mobilization, among other topics.One main target audience for the Voluntaristics Review are scholars in the field of Voluntaristics worldwide.

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The nonprofit sector and civil society are emerging in many nations all over the world, with NGOs of various kinds (associations, agencies, foundations, social enterprises, and volunteer programs) proliferating rapidly. Academic scholarship is emerging or expanding globally even faster than the underlying nonprofit sector itself. A new label for this interdisciplinary field is Voluntaristics, which refers to Nonprofit Sector and Voluntary Action Research, including studies of the kinds of groups noted above but also individual volunteering, both formal and informal.

The books of the Series focus on all aspects of Voluntaristics as an international and interdisciplinary field and as an emerging academic discipline. Included are chapters on topics such as the nonprofit sector, voluntary sector, third sector, civil society (sector), social economy, solidarity economy, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, social investment, solidarity, philanthropy, giving, grants economy, foundations, volunteering (both formal and informal), civic engagement, community engagement, engagement, citizen participation, participation, nonprofit, not-for-profit, nonprofit organizations (NPOs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), voluntary associations, associations, sodalities, self-help groups, mutual aid groups, support groups, interest groups, pressure groups, cooperatives, nonprofit agencies, civil liberties, democracy, democratization, social movements, social protest, and mobilization, among other topics. The Series includes English translations of scholarly works or collections of papers originally written in a language that is not English, aiming at bringing these important non-English materials available to English-speaking readers.

Another unique feature of the book series is that the umbrella/infrastructure organization, ICSERA, of which Series Co-Editor David Horton Smith is the founder and CEO/President, has sponsored the Book Series. Prof. Chao Guo of the University of Pennsylvania and Senior Vice-President of ICSERA is the Co-Editor of the Series. ICSERA (www.icsera.org) refers to the International Council of Voluntarism, Civil Society, and Social Economy Researcher Associations, a nonprofit research organization based in the USA.
Epistolary Literature, Circulation, and The Gospels for All Christians
Author: David Smith
In The Epistles for All Christians, David Smith argues that epistolary literature offers analogous evidence of circulation to the Gospels. Since Richard Bauckham’s edited volume The Gospels for All Christians was published in 1998, debate over the validity of the contributors’ claims that the Gospels were written for “all Christians” has revolved around interpretation. Smith brings circulation to bear on the conversation.
Studying ancient media practices of publication and circulation and using social network theory, Smith makes a compelling case that if the evangelists did not expect their texts to circulate they would be atypical.
Author: David Smith

Abstract

Appropriately enough, the Babel narrative of Gen 11:1-9 has generated a scattered array of interpretations, with most of its detail disputable in one way or another. Further additions to this particular industry may risk achieving little more than adding to the confusion. Interpreting Babel remains, however, a serious and necessary task, not least because of the cultural power exercised by its image of building and dispersion. This power has led to the narrative being used to reinforce a diverse collection of worldviews, from apartheid in South Africa to Derridean deconstruction.1 The question of how we should live after Babel is still very much alive, and must continue to draw us back to the text - and its context.

In: Horizons in Biblical Theology
In: Essays in the History of the Physiological Sciences
In: The Memory of Clothes
The foundations of volunteering, charitable giving, voluntary associations, voluntary agencies, and other aspects of the Voluntary Nonprofit Sector (VNPS) collectively and of individual voluntary action lie in various aspects of human nature and societies. These foundations may be referred to variously as altruism, morality, ethics, virtue, kindness, generosity, cooperation, social solidarity, and prosociality (eusociality). These foundations of the VNPS, and specifically of social solidarity and prosociality, are the subjects of this literature review article/book. The central goal is providing a comprehensive and interdisciplinary theoretical framework for understanding, explaining, and predicting such phenomena, based on two versions of the author’s S-Theory:

(1) Individual-System-Level General S-Theory of Human Behavior, as presented briefly here and in greater detail elsewhere (Smith, 2015, 2020a, 2020b; Smith & van Puyvelde, 2016);
(2) Social-System-Level General S-Theory of Collective Prosociality-Social Solidarity, as partially sketched here for the first time in print.

Social-System-Level General S-Theory of collective Prosociality-Social Solidarity argues that collective social solidarity can be better explained with a broader than usual range of factors as major causal influences, beyond normative systems. Individual prosociality behavior can be best explained and understood using the author’s Individual-System-Level General S-Theory of Human Behavior.
Prosociality includes (a) instrumental (task-oriented) helping behavior, such as formal and informal volunteering or charitable giving for non-household/non-immediate family persons and also informal care of residential household/immediate family persons, plus (b) expressive prosociality or sociability that involves positive interpersonal relations with one or more other persons, both in the residential household/immediate family or outside of it, based on feelings of attachment, fellowship, friendship, affection, and/or love.
Prosociality and social solidarity are clearly human universals, as Brown (1991) concludes from anthropological studies on hundreds of mostly preliterate societies on all continents. Such individual human prosociality activities often have positive short- and long-term consequences for the people who do them.
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.
Published research in English is reviewed on the Nonprofit Sector (NPS) in mainland China since Mao’s death in 1976. A large, diverse, and rapidly growing NPS exists, but openly political Nonprofit Organizations (NPOs) outside the Communist Party and its control are prohibited. China has civil society in the narrower sense: a substantial civil society sector or NPS exists. However, the party-state in China continues to play a dominating role in regard to the NPS, especially for registered NPOs. Freedom of association is still limited in China, especially for national associations, which are nearly all Government Organized Nongovernmental Organizations (GONGOs), not genuine NGOs/NPOs. The broader scope definition of civil society focuses on functioning civil liberties, and the ability of NPOs in general to influence significantly the government on various policy issues. In these terms, China has a weak but slowly emerging civil society with far more associational freedom than under Mao.