Altruism and volunteerism

The perceptions of altruism in four disciplines and their impact on the study of volunteerism

Debbie Haski-Leventhal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although volunteering is the most organized and formal manner of altruism, the two subjects are rarely connected in literature. In this article reviewed is the egocentric approach that is found in four social disciplines: psychology, sociology, economics and socio-biology (evolutionism), and the way that studies on altruism are based on Utilitarian philosophy and on the homo economicus perception of man. All of the above have influenced the study of volunteerism: the research questions, the study areas, and the conclusions on the essence of volunteering. We then review a different approach based on Deontological philosophy: the alter-centric approach, already influencing the study of altruism. New directions of approaching and studying volunteerism are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-299
Number of pages29
JournalJournal for the Theory of Social Behaviour
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes

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