A Survey of Voluntaristics

Research on the Growth of the Global, Interdisciplinary, Socio-behavioral Science Field and Emergent Inter-discipline


This article provides a survey of the growth of research on Nonprofit Sector and Voluntary Action Research, now termed simply voluntaristics. The author founded the organized, global, interdisciplinary, socio-behavioral science field of voluntaristics in 1971, with his formation and establishment of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA; www.arnova.org). Both ARNOVA, and its interdisciplinary, academic journal, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (NVSQ), have served as initial models for the global diffusion of this interdisciplinary field, now present in all inhabited continents and with upwards of 20,000 academic participants in at least 130 nations and territories, and likely more.
Voluntaristics, after more than 40 years of growth, now qualifies as a new, global, integrative, academic discipline in the socio-behavioral sciences and related social professions, not just as one of many interdisciplinary fields of research, according to six defining criteria for a discipline. However, the author prefers to label voluntaristics as an inter-discipline, since its hallmark is the interdisciplinary study of all, voluntary nonprofit sector (VNPS) phenomena.
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Biographical Note

David Horton Smith (PhD Harvard University, 1965) is Research and Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Boston College, USA. Founder (1971) of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action/ARNOVA (www.arnova.org) and NVSQ, he is founding Editor of this journal.

Table of contents

Editorial Introduction
Author Biography

Part One: Overview of Voluntaristics
Chapter 1. Introduction and Historical Background
a. Voluntaristics, Altruistics, or Philanthropy—What’s in a Name?
b. Voluntaristics Research in Ancient Times
c.Voluntaristics Research from Medieval Times to the Industrial Revolution
d. Voluntaristics Research in the 1800s
e. Voluntaristics Research 1900-1950
f. Voluntaristics Research 1951 to the Present
Chapter 2. Interdisciplinary Voluntaristics Associations and Subgroups of Researchers
a. Voluntaristics as an Interdisciplinary Field and Emerging Inter-Discipline
b. Founding of ARNOVA: Voluntaristics becomes Organized for the First Time in History
c. National and Regional/Local Voluntaristics Interdisciplinary Researcher Associations
d. Other Global Interdisciplinary Associations of Individual Voluntaristics Researchers
e. Voluntaristics Formal Sections of National or International Associations for Specific Academic Disciplines and Professions
f. Independent, World Region, Interdisciplinary Voluntaristics Research and Researcher Associations
g. ICSERA: A New, Global, Infrastructure Organization, Research-Information Institute, and Umbrella Association for Voluntaristics Researcher Associations
Chapter 3. Voluntaristics Research Documents and Publications
a. Academic Journals Focused Mainly on Voluntaristics Topics
b. Academic Journal Articles, Dissertations, and Theses on Voluntaristics Topics
c. Scholarly-Research Conferences and General Research Meetings on Voluntaristics Topics
Chapter 4. Voluntaristics Structural Units as Elements of Global Academia
a. Research and Information Centers/Institutes Focused mainly on Voluntaristics Topics
b. College- and University-Based Courses, Majors and Minors (Fields of Concentration), Certificates, and Degree Programs on Voluntaristics Topics
c. University Departments Focused on Voluntaristics Topics
d. University-Based Schools, Colleges, or Divisions Focused on Voluntaristics Topics
Part Two: The Voluntaristics Field and Inter-Discipline
Chapter 5. Theories And Paradigms in Voluntaristics
Chapter 6. Usable Knowledge About Voluntaristics
Chapter 7. Future Trends and Needed Research
a. New ARNOVA Common Interest Group (CIG) on Voluntaristics
b. Future Research Needed on the Growth of Voluntaristics
i. Changes in Government Regimes and Structures
ii. Changes in Public Perceptions and Values
iii. Changes in the Socio-Economic Systems within and across Nations
iv. Changes in Academia and the Global University System
Chapter 8. The Emerging Global Structure of Voluntaristics as an Academic (Inter-)Discipline
a. Indicators of Voluntaristics as an Academic Discipline at Present
b. The Likely Internal Structure of Voluntaristics as a Global Academic Inter-discipline in the Future
Chapter 9. Conclusions: Can Voluntaristics Break into the Established Set of Current Socio-Behavioral Science Disciplines in Universities?
Appendix 1: ICSERA Alphabetical List of Keywords on Topics in Voluntaristics-Altruistics-Philanthropy
Appendix 2: Key Recent Books on Voluntaristics Topics
Bibliography I: Voluntaristics General Bibliography
Bibliography II: Voluntaristics Methodology Bibliography


Anyone interested in the field of Voluntaristics worldwide, academics and researchers in anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, and psychology, and those interested in Area studies, the social professions, and history.

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