File Download
  Links for fulltext
     (May Require Subscription)

postgraduate thesis: Individualistic volunteerism : educational volunteers and individualization in contemporary China

TitleIndividualistic volunteerism : educational volunteers and individualization in contemporary China
Authors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Ning, R. [宁润东]. (2014). Individualistic volunteerism : educational volunteers and individualization in contemporary China. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5351005
AbstractSince the late 1980s, volunteerism has emerged in Mainland China. Now both the state and the society play active roles in promoting it and there are tens of mil-lions registered volunteers nationwide. However, volunteerism in China remains insufficiently understood. Most existing studies approach it from the perspective of civil society and focus on volunteer organizations, taking volunteers’ interpretations and practices of volunteering for granted. In order to complement the current research with a deeper understanding of the voice and action from the perspective of volunteers themselves, this thesis departs from this methodology by looking more at individual volunteers. Given the qualitative and explorative nature of this study, interviews and participant observation are used as the main methods. In total 25 volunteers have been semi-structurally interviewed. These interview data are complemented with data collected from a three-month participant observation in a migrant children school, where numerous volunteers have been working as teachers. Data are also gleaned from public accessible texts about volunteering, including newspaper articles, books, e-publications, and social media. Moreover, a brief history of the official discourse of helping action is delineated in order to contextualize volunteerism in China. This study shows that some volunteers see volunteering as a part of their life trajectories. Their interpretations of their decision to volunteer are based on their reflections of their life experiences and expectations, but not solely on their com-passion to others and concerns of social issues. The ethnography reveals that, first, volunteering is an experience far richer than merely helping others. The volunteers enjoy making friends through volunteering. Second, the volunteers tend to teach the children reflexively, that is, in their own ways according to their own understandings of education. As for their feelings about volunteering, the volunteers are inclined to highlight the gains and downplay the cost of their volunteering. However, they suffer from anxiety resulting from their families’ and friends’ doubt about volunteerism. The state’s propaganda of model volunteers also results in their anxiety. The comparison of the texts about volunteering in official media and those written by volunteers themselves on the Internet show that, first, volunteers regard volunteering as a choice and experience out of personal pursuits in addition to, if not rather than, public concerns, and second, the two bodies of discourse of volunteerism differ significantly, which leads to anxiety of the volunteers. Individualization theory is heuristically used to interpret these findings. This study shows that volunteerism in China has an individualistic side, that is, volunteering is done reflexively out of volunteers’ private pursuits. This argument forces us to rethink about the link between volunteerism and civil society. Additionally, through the interpretations of volunteers’ anxiety, the study also shows how the relationship between individualization and civil society is further complicated by the conflicting forces of the neoliberalistic ethos and China’s socialist heritage.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectVoluntarism - China
Dept/ProgramHumanities and Social Sciences
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/221531

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorNing, Rundong-
dc.contributor.author宁润东-
dc.date.accessioned2015-11-27T23:15:45Z-
dc.date.available2015-11-27T23:15:45Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationNing, R. [宁润东]. (2014). Individualistic volunteerism : educational volunteers and individualization in contemporary China. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5351005-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/221531-
dc.description.abstractSince the late 1980s, volunteerism has emerged in Mainland China. Now both the state and the society play active roles in promoting it and there are tens of mil-lions registered volunteers nationwide. However, volunteerism in China remains insufficiently understood. Most existing studies approach it from the perspective of civil society and focus on volunteer organizations, taking volunteers’ interpretations and practices of volunteering for granted. In order to complement the current research with a deeper understanding of the voice and action from the perspective of volunteers themselves, this thesis departs from this methodology by looking more at individual volunteers. Given the qualitative and explorative nature of this study, interviews and participant observation are used as the main methods. In total 25 volunteers have been semi-structurally interviewed. These interview data are complemented with data collected from a three-month participant observation in a migrant children school, where numerous volunteers have been working as teachers. Data are also gleaned from public accessible texts about volunteering, including newspaper articles, books, e-publications, and social media. Moreover, a brief history of the official discourse of helping action is delineated in order to contextualize volunteerism in China. This study shows that some volunteers see volunteering as a part of their life trajectories. Their interpretations of their decision to volunteer are based on their reflections of their life experiences and expectations, but not solely on their com-passion to others and concerns of social issues. The ethnography reveals that, first, volunteering is an experience far richer than merely helping others. The volunteers enjoy making friends through volunteering. Second, the volunteers tend to teach the children reflexively, that is, in their own ways according to their own understandings of education. As for their feelings about volunteering, the volunteers are inclined to highlight the gains and downplay the cost of their volunteering. However, they suffer from anxiety resulting from their families’ and friends’ doubt about volunteerism. The state’s propaganda of model volunteers also results in their anxiety. The comparison of the texts about volunteering in official media and those written by volunteers themselves on the Internet show that, first, volunteers regard volunteering as a choice and experience out of personal pursuits in addition to, if not rather than, public concerns, and second, the two bodies of discourse of volunteerism differ significantly, which leads to anxiety of the volunteers. Individualization theory is heuristically used to interpret these findings. This study shows that volunteerism in China has an individualistic side, that is, volunteering is done reflexively out of volunteers’ private pursuits. This argument forces us to rethink about the link between volunteerism and civil society. Additionally, through the interpretations of volunteers’ anxiety, the study also shows how the relationship between individualization and civil society is further complicated by the conflicting forces of the neoliberalistic ethos and China’s socialist heritage.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshVoluntarism - China-
dc.titleIndividualistic volunteerism : educational volunteers and individualization in contemporary China-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5351005-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineHumanities and Social Sciences-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5351005-

Export via OAI-PMH Interface in XML Formats


OR


Export to Other Non-XML Formats