Volunteer care workers: A case for challenging resource theories on volunteering

Charlotte Overgaard, Erik Petrovski, Jonathan Hermansen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This paper challenges prevailing theories on volunteering which explain participation in volunteer work by the high capital resources of individuals (resource theories). Using care theory and focusing on volunteers working with the frail elderly, the sick and the dying, we ask whether resource theory is a suitable theoretical framework for this particular kind of unpaid work. With a 2012 Danish population survey, we find that care volunteering attracts lower-resourced individuals who are predominantly female. We use this finding to argue that resource theory is unhelpful in explaining this particular form of volunteering and to call for more theory development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Civil Society
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)153-172
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventARNOVA’s 44th Annual Conference : The Dynamic Landscape of Nonprofit Organization & Voluntary Action: Innovation, Inspiration, and Creativity Across Boundaries - Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, United States
Duration: 19 Nov 201521 Nov 2015


ConferenceARNOVA’s 44th Annual Conference
LocationPalmer House Hotel
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

Bibliographical note

An earlier version of this article presented at ARNOVA conference, 2015


  • Care
  • Gender
  • Resource theory
  • Volunteering

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