Volunteer care workers: a case for challenging resource theories on volunteering

Charlotte Overgaard*, Erik Petrovski, Jonathan Hermansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper challenges prevailing theories on volunteering which explain participation in volunteer work by the high capital resources of individuals (resource theories). Using care theory and focusing on volunteers working with the frail elderly, the sick and the dying, we ask whether resource theory is a suitable theoretical framework for this particular kind of unpaid work. With a 2012 Danish population survey, we find that care volunteering attracts lower-resourced individuals who are predominantly female. We use this finding to argue that resource theory is unhelpful in explaining this particular form of volunteering and to call for more theory development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-172
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Civil Society
Issue number2
Early online date4 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • care
  • gender
  • resource theory
  • volunteering


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