The Epistemological Challenge of Higher Education Student Volunteering: “Reproductive” or “Deconstructive” Volunteering?
Article first published online: 11 MAY 2011
© 2011 The Authors Antipode © 2011 Editorial Board of Antipode.
Volume 44, Issue 2, pages 386–405, March 2012
How to Cite
Holdsworth, C. and Quinn, J. (2012), The Epistemological Challenge of Higher Education Student Volunteering: “Reproductive” or “Deconstructive” Volunteering?. Antipode, 44: 386–405. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8330.2011.00844.x
- Issue published online: 28 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 11 MAY 2011
- student volunteering;
- higher education;
- social justice;
- social capital
Abstract: This paper addresses student volunteering as an important socio-cultural trend which is generally taken for granted and un-interrogated. We explore tensions inherent in the practice and articulation of higher education student volunteering, via biographical narratives of contrasting student volunteers and employ Rose's (1993, Feminism and Geography: The Limits of Geographical Knowledge, University of Minnesota Press) theory of “paradoxical space” to unpick and understand these narratives, as this has proven a generative approach to re-conceptualising students’ engagement with universities and communities. Building on this theoretical approach, we propose a new conceptual framework to analyse students’ learning and understanding of social justice through volunteering. This framework contrasts reproductive altruism, or volunteering which reproduces social inequalities, with a deconstructive form that provides students with resources to recognise and challenge power relations and inequality in society.