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Keywords:

  • volunteer;
  • neo-liberalism;
  • “others”

Abstract

There are two opposite opinions on volunteer activities. The advocates applaud them because they could solve problems caused by the nation and the market. The critics of neo-liberalism, on the other hand, are apprehensive that they would promote social change in line with neo-liberalism. The aim of this paper is to reconsider the discussions comprehensively and to show theoretical points that avoid complicity with neo-liberalism. The problems of complicity could be classified into two types. One is at the level of condition, and the other is at the level of consequence. At the level of condition, complicity would occur when volunteer activities function as a replacement for institutions of welfare states, and when volunteers become moralistic and easy to be governed. On the other hand, at the level of consequence, complicity would happen when social disparity that exists among participants in volunteers is mobilized to protect themselves by excluding others. It is then shown that this complicity doesn't always happen and there are ways to avoid it. Such methods are found by considering the “other” who has difficulty in gaining people's sympathy and is neglected in most discussions of volunteers.