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Essay On Volunteerism

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Before explaining the concepts of liminality and Othering and their connection to volunteerism, I will first explain how volunteerism is scientifically defined and approached. The term volunteerism is a coalescence from the words volunteering and tourism. Stebbins and Graham (2004) define volunteerism as volunteering “in an organized way to undertake holidays that might involve the aiding or alleviating the material poverty of some groups in society, the restoration of certain environments or research into aspects of society or environment (Stebbins and Graham 2004, 211). According to Beigbeder (1991) and Clark (1978), a volunteer is someone who voluntarily offers personal services, time and skills for the benefit of others. Stebbins and…show more content…
Brown (2005) defines volunteerism as a “type of tourism experience where a tour operator offers travellers an opportunity to participate in an optional excursion that has a volunteer component”. For this research I will look closer into the motivations of volunteers and the activities undertaken by these volunteers within two volunteerism projects, considering this holiday component in volunteerism projects. I will also look into how volunteerism projects create cultural understanding between people with different cultural backgrounds, since experiencing another culture is a big aspect with which volunteerism projects are being promoted (Brown 2005). According to Schulz (2007), there are certain things needed to create the possibility for cross-cultural understanding. She, for example, states that it is important that there is awareness about how various factors, such as history and religion, can have an impact on cultural perspectives, products and…show more content…
The concept of liminality was first introduced in the field of anthropology by Van Gennep (1909). He described rites of passage in which the people who are undergoing the ritual are stripped of their social status at the beginning after which they are in a liminal period of transition until they get back their new status at the end. After Van Gennep’s work on the concept there was a long period of silence around it until Turner (1967) drew on Van Gennep’s ideas for his interpretation of liminality. He started to apply liminality to small-scale societies stating that liminal individuals or entities are “neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention, and ceremony” (Turner 1967, 95). According to him, there are liminal communities within which all community members are equal. An example of such a community is the hippies who, according to Turner, freed themselves from the ruling social structure. He defines liminality as following: “Liminality may perhaps be regarded as the Nay to all positive structural assertions, but as in some sense the source of them all, and, more than that, as a realm of pure possibility whence novel configurations of ideas and relations may arise” (Turner 1967: 97). This connects to the work of Rabinow (1977) again, in which he describes how the informants of an anthropologist
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