Commitment to Lutherhjälpen – Church of Sweden Aid : A Study of the Incitements to Voluntary Work

Lars Rubin

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

Abstract

This thesis focuses on the incitement to commitment and voluntary work. The overall problem is the question why you get involved in voluntary work for an organisation like Lutherhjälpen, the organisation for international development co-operation of the Church of Sweden, one of the largest NGOs of the country. The theoretical perspectives are seen from the position of the increasing pace of change, the loss of tradition and the individualization in modern society. These views deepen in considering the following aspects: The importance of globalization and the risk society to an involvement in voluntary work, the extent to which voluntary efforts can be regarded as work, the significance of existential issues and religious faith to that commitment, the extent to which that commitment is an expression of altruism and/or selfishness. The empirical part consists of three sections: A content analysis of the annual reports of Lutherhjälpen from the years 1963 - 1996 and of the educational material of the organisation; further, qualitatively focused interviews with thirty-one people actively involved in the organisation and, finally, 820 inquiries representing the quantitative aspect. The results show that there are a variety of motives. In the organisation’s own material the incitements referred to are predominantly biblical. The interviews and inquiries provide a wider scope of motives. In this material it is possible to distinguish between more and less important motives. Issues of global justice are strong incitements to many of those involved but to some people subordinate to other motives. Whenever the organisation suggests concrete actions in order to solve problems or meet threats in the global risk society, we find a connection between existential issues and voluntary engagement. Being involved provides the satisfaction of being part of a meaningful context. The church and Christian belief are of great importance to people’s engagement in Lutherhjälpen. Involvement in voluntary work can be understood as part and parcel of one's involvement in the church, being a way of participating in the church one belongs to. Altruistic values are very important to many of those involved in the activities of Lutherhjälpen. Altruism and self-interest is, in fact, what it is all about. Whatever you do is done both for others and because you get something in return. People's early socialization seems to be the key to understanding why anybody gets involved in voluntary work for Lutherhjälpen.
Translated title of the contributionCommitment to Lutherhjälpen – Church of Sweden Aid : A Study of the Incitements to Voluntary Work
Original languageSwedish
QualificationDoctor
Awarding Institution
  • Centre for Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisors/Advisors
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2000 Nov 17
Publisher
Print ISBNs91-89515-00-5
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2000-11-17
Time: 10:15
Place: Carolinasalen, Kungshuset, Lundagård

External reviewer(s)

Name: Sundback, Susan
Title: [unknown]
Affiliation: Åbo Akademi

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Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Philosophy, Ethics and Religion

Keywords

  • Lutherhjälpen
  • Church of Sweden Aid
  • voluntary work
  • involvement
  • engagement
  • Motive
  • incitement
  • development co-operation.
  • Theology
  • Teologi

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