Using a lifecourse perspective to explore volunteering in older age


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This seminar was the third in a series of seminars focusing on volunteering in a fair society organised by IVR in partnership with the ESRC and Northumbria University. This event explored how individuals and communities can most effectively make their voices heard.

Eddy Hogg from Northumbria University discusses volunteering in older age.

Past presentations from the Institute of Volunteering Research website can be found at the following location -

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Using a lifecourse perspective to explore volunteering in older age

  1. 1. Using a lifecourse perspective to explore volunteering in older age Eddy Hogg Northumbria University
  2. 2. Outline • The theoretical context; the lifecourse and different work roles • Three exemplar biographies of older volunteers • Broader patterns of voluntary engagement
  3. 3. The Lifecourse • Movement away from a stable model of aging as a linear process (Rossi, 1980; Katz and Monk, 1993) • Instability and unexpected events across the lifecourse • Lifecourse volunteering; constant, serial and trigger volunteers (Davis Smith and Gay, 2005)
  4. 4. Conceptualising Work Roles • An inclusive approach to work activities; paid and unpaid, public and domestic, embedded in household (Glucksmann, 1995; 2000; 2005) • Volunteering is a work role which individuals who wish to must find space for (Taylor, 2004; Williams, 2011) • But current analyses only looks at a cross- section in time, not over the lifecourse
  5. 5. Methods • Volunteer Managers acted as gatekeepers to 26 older volunteers • Biographical interviews, looking at volunteering and other work roles across the lifecourse • Transcribed, coded and analysed. Different work roles mapped out.
  6. 6. Eric - Constant • Paid Work (PW): draughtsman, lecturer, business advisor • Domestic Roles (S & C): wife & children • Volunteering (V): Youth Association, then more in retirement
  7. 7. Constant
  8. 8. Grace - Serial • Paid Work (PW): graphic designer, journalist, mental health nurse, own business • Domestic Roles (S & C): marriage, children, divorce and remarriage • Volunteering (V): playgroup, swimming, mobile library, meals on wheels, health committees, advocacy
  9. 9. Serial
  10. 10. Jack - Trigger • Paid Work (PW): senior manager in manufacturing company • Domestic Roles (S & C): wife & adopted children • Volunteering (V): church, local school and soup kitchen in retirement
  11. 11. Trigger
  12. 12. Conclusions • Volunteering is part of a mix of work roles which individuals undertake • Individuals have to manage their time and energy, to find space for volunteering • They do so in different ways at different times, embedded in households
  13. 13. Any Questions?