Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly vol:39 issue:2 pages:236-255
This study considers the thesis that volunteering is gaining a fundamentally new quality as a result of broader social and cultural transformations. Whereas existing research has focused on the changing nature of volunteering, this study deals with the decision to quit volunteering and examines whether it may be considered part of the "politics of self-actualization," that is, the more active and individualized monitoring of life. Former styles of volunteering and reasons for quitting were examined in a group of 99 ex-volunteers of the Red Cross in Flanders, Belgium, and volunteering habits were compared with a sample of 652 volunteers. Ex-volunteers did not systematically differ from the sample of volunteers with regard to their social background profile, volunteering behavior, and strength of organizational attachment. Furthermore, the decision to quit more likely reflected the routine nature of everyday practices than an autonomous and self-conscious life design.