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Literature Review for the State of the World's Volunteerism Report 2018: Building Resilient Communities in a Turbulent World

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Abstract

This technical report provide a review of the topic of building community resilience, with a specific focus on the characteristics of volunteerism that may help or hinder this process. A key purpose of this review was to set out a conceptual framework to inform the primary research methodology and protocol for 2018 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report Building Resilient Communities in a Turbulent World, and to identify gaps that can be filled through primary research with communities. This review analyses the relationship among different publications that touch on volunteerism and resilience, providing a synthesis of prior studies in order to inform various sections of the proposed SWVR outline. Although volunteerism likely contributes in many ways to building community resilience, this review and related research has two primary areas of focus: (1) identify the distinctive characteristics of volunteerism that help or hinder community capacity to cope and adapt during adverse events, and (2) identify policies and norms that have supported or discouraged volunteerism for community resilience.
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... Volunteering brings together community actors and formal institutions in responding to natural hazards including wildfires (Cowlishaw et al. 2008, Haski-Leventhal andMcLeigh 2009). It provides an important service and function where state-based programs or market developments do not meet the needs of vulnerable communities (Lough 2018). Research on volunteering intersects many topics related to community resilience including the elderly, young people, refugee communities, environmental conservation, and disasters (Morrow-Howell et al. 2011, Woodier 2011, Rast et al. 2019, Miller 2020. ...
... In other cases, local community groups hold primary responsibility for disaster resilience (Hayward 2013, Blackman et al. 2017, despite capacity and resourcing limitations (Halliday et al. 2013). More broadly, formal volunteering is said to be in a state of transition where top-down command and control approaches are giving way to more locally empowered volunteers (Lough 2018) that can be more acutely aware of community needs and vulnerabilities (Blackman et al. 2017). Although such people-centered, participatory approaches have resourcing limitations, they do offer a means for leading transformational approaches to building community resilience from the bottom up (Halliday et al. 2013, Blackman et al. 2017, Lough 2018. ...
... More broadly, formal volunteering is said to be in a state of transition where top-down command and control approaches are giving way to more locally empowered volunteers (Lough 2018) that can be more acutely aware of community needs and vulnerabilities (Blackman et al. 2017). Although such people-centered, participatory approaches have resourcing limitations, they do offer a means for leading transformational approaches to building community resilience from the bottom up (Halliday et al. 2013, Blackman et al. 2017, Lough 2018. Local points of reference can help centralized organizations develop a self-critical ability and validate institutional reflexivity [1] (Boström et al. 2017), as a means for understanding change and environmental pressure on https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol26/iss3/art18/ ...
Article
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Wildfire is a major environmental hazard, yet the social and institutional aspects of wildfire risk management have received limited attention in the literature. Considering future climate change, changing demographics, and the increased demands on fire services more generally, there is an urgent need to better understand the significance of volunteers in emergency management. Volunteering brings together community actors and formal institutions in responding to natural hazards including wildfires. In this paper, we use systemic co-inquiry with volunteer leaders to better understand how to integrate formal and informal volunteers by addressing how resilience is being enacted and what opportunities exist for building community resilience. We examine practices of transitioning from past norms of volunteering to create new institutions for supporting community resilience to wildfires. Findings demonstrate the need for the emergency management sector to promote community resilience through the support of informal volunteers and move beyond traditional representations of rural fire brigade volunteers' roles as firefighters. Vulnerabilities at different organizational scales, community, brigade, and regional, limit existing arrangements for wildfire volunteering, and highlight the need to adapt to changing contexts. Opportunities for building community resilience are identified, including supporting non-firefighting roles for brigade volunteers; aligning with spontaneous volunteers for enhancing rural community disaster preparedness; and outreach to support preparedness activities in isolated and remote communities. Building on the direct experiences of our participants, we articulate the importance of institutional reflexivity involving localized reflection on volunteer organization as a vehicle for change toward more resilient wildfire futures.
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https://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/publications/16723
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This article critically examines reciprocity in international volunteering. It first highlights tensions and unintended consequences that can emerge when pursuing reciprocal relationships between host-country partners and international volunteers or volunteer-sending organizations. It then reconsiders how to determine equal or fair distribution of benefits between stakeholders when some benefits are material and some are intangible. It then presents a typology of different modalities of reciprocity practiced or aspired to by contemporary international volunteer organizations. The article aims to provoke more nuanced consideration of when, if or under what conditions different forms of reciprocity may be possible or even desirable.
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An electronic version of this guidance note can be downloaded from the Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre website. Go to http://www.benfieldhrc.org/disaster_studies/projects/ communitydrrindicators/community_drr_indicators_index.htm The guidance note has also been translated into Spanish by Diego Bunge. It is available from the same web page.
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The paper analyzes how adaptability (adaptive capacity and adaptations) is constructed in the literature on resilience of social-ecological systems (SES). According to some critics, this literature views adaptability as the capacity of SES to self-organize in an autonomous harmonious consensus-building process, ignoring strategies, conflicting goals, and power issues. We assessed 183 papers, coding two dimensions of adaptability: autonomous vs. intentional and descriptive vs. normative. We found a plurality of framings, where 51% of the papers perceived adaptability as autonomous, but one-third constructed adaptability as intentional processes driven by stakeholders; where social learning and networking are often used as strategies for changing power structures and achieving sustainability transformations. For the other dimension, adaptability was used normatively in 59% of the assessed papers, but one-third used descriptive framings. We found no evidence that the SES literature in general assumes a priori that adaptations are harmonious consensus-building processes. It is, rather, conflicts that are assumed, not spelled out, and assertions of "desirable" that are often not clarified by reference to policy documents or explicit normative frameworks. We discuss alternative definitions of adaptability and transformability to clarify or avoid the notion of desirability. Complex adaptive systems framing often precludes analysis of agency, but lately self-organization and emergence have been used to study actors with intentions, strategies, and conflicting interests. Transformations and power structures are increasingly being addressed in the SES literature. We conclude that ontological clashes between social science and SES research have resulted in multiple constructive pathways.
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In recent years, the transitional justice field has become increasingly concerned with ensuring meaningful participation from a wide range of actors. In response, a burgeoning scholarship has emerged, which aims to understand the interests and needs of these stakeholders, most notably women and children. Noticeably absent from this research is an examination of youth interests as distinct from children’s. Instead, the conflict identities of youth are most often conceived as inextricably tied to those of children. As a result, the narrow victim/perpetrator binary remains the dominant identity construction employed for understanding their involvement in conflict and transitional justice processes. Drawing on the case of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission, this article reveals that youth are more than passive subjects in the reconciliation process. It demonstrates that the interactions of youth with truth and reconciliation commission processes allow youth to exercise agency, and thus challenge the dominance of the victim/perpetrator identity construct. The article thus proposes an alternative way of framing youth participation, whereby the identities of youth in transitional contexts are represented as diverse and malleable.