A study of Volunteer Motivations and Notions of Solidarity

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Stig Østergård Nielsen
4. term, Global Refugee Studies, Master (Master Programme)
Built on a rich dataset gathered by means of semi-structured interviews on the Island of Lesvos in spring 2016, the objective of this project is to investigate the motivations of a select group of volunteers working on the beaches and rocky piers of the Island that lies right of the Turkish coast – untold thousands of mixed migrants dared to cross the narrow stretch between Turkey and the European Union risking their lives.

Using the assumptions and theoretical categories of Allen Omoto and Mark Snyder's Volunteer Functions Index (VFI)) as a prism a catalogue of intuitively coded motivational thematics lifted from verbatim trasnsscribtion are reordered described using established motivational categories. Following the an analysis informed by the VFI is carried out to reveal plausible individual motivational patterns.
Following the individual motivational patterns revealed are cross referenced and the salience and solitude of specific motivational functions are compared and discussed. The analytical process reveals a general motivational pattern across all sources.

Finally Carol Gould's theory of Transnational Solidarity that seeks to update Emile Durkheim's concepts of Mechanical and Organic Solidarity is introduced in concert with Kraig Beyerlin and David Sikkink's work on volunteering after the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City. Both are fused and applied in an attempt to explain the universal occurrence of value and community centered motivations to volunteer as an expression of Transnational Solidarity.
Publication date1 Nov 2016
Number of pages55
ID: 243000358