Changing notions of volunteering: United Nations volunteering programme

Karakaya, Burcu
This thesis investigates the notion of volunteering and the transformation of it with a special focus on the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme. It argues that volunteering cannot be understood without any reference to the economic and political context that surrounds it. With an integrative approach, firstly different forms of social actions similar to volunteering in different courses of time and countries are examined. Following this, the concept of volunteering in the current literature is discussed and an alternative interpretation of it is presented. Thirdly, the contemporary political-economic framework in which volunteering has gained new meanings is examined. Lastly, the position of the United Nations in volunteering, and how it incorporated such changes in volunteering is discussed accordingly. This is followed by the introduction of the United Nations Volunteering system where the historical roots of the programme, its workings in the context of new forms of labour, and the ways in which it utilizes the concept of volunteering are examined. It is argued that the United Nations Volunteering Programme was affected by the ongoing political economic transformation where a new discourse on development and labour emerged and new forms of employment were defined. Thus, while UN adopted these changes, volunteering is utilized through the UNV system for certain UN goals and used as a source of flexible labour which can be seen in the comparative vacancy announcement analyses presented in the thesis.
Citation Formats
B. Karakaya, “Changing notions of volunteering: United Nations volunteering programme,” Thesis (M.S.) -- Graduate School of Social Sciences. Political Science and Public Administration., Middle East Technical University, 2020.