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First International Conference on Volunteering for Youth Employment, Mobilization, Social Inclusion & Quality of Life

The First International Conference on Volunteering for Youth Employment, Mobilization, Social Inclusion & Quality of Life, is held on 25-26 October 2013 at Aarhus University, Campus Emdrup, in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Conference is an open event in connection with EU OPEN DAYS.

Volunteering is on the agenda not only in the national states, but also in the EU. One part of the renewed interest is often linked to budget cuts, implying that volunteers have to match the demands of a welfare state under erosion. Volunteers should simply take over the tasks which paid work cannot meet. The economic recession since 2007/08 would do as an explanation. On the contrary, volunteering could be interpreted as a continuing modus vivendi, meaning that developmental work embracing volunteers and professionals has been seen as the main vehicle for social services, integration of minorities, and integration in the labor market, local cultural institutions, and lifelong learning. The intention is to consider quality of life as well as a number of indirect outcomes of voluntary work.

The conference will deal with contradictions such as:

  • Neo-liberal economy has reduced society to an agglomeration of individuals rationally pursuing their interests.
  • Municipalities are under a heavy pressure; they have to be efficient and effective and they have to cut costs.
  • Shifting from being a citizen to become a costumer people ask ‘what’s in it for me?’

Such challenges are profound for researchers, professionals and citizens. Contributions aim at discussing and theorizing about that situation. Theorizing is a central issue; nonetheless, examples of good practices will be a further and important part of the conference. Eventually, perspectives for the future activities are presented. The approaches may be economic, moral, political, social, cultural or multi-dimensional. However, their common aim is to produce sustainable and collective goods via innovation and cooperation. In addition the approaches may vary between more ‘individual’ in one end of a continuum to and ‘collective’ or ‘organizational’ at the other end.

Some may emphasize economic outcomes such a jobs or education/training for jobs; others may open new social spaces for young people needing further competencies. Whatever the rationale might be, voluntary work aims at enhancing common quality of life. In other words, we do not expect that voluntary work can be defined as this and only this effort.

The conference is a two days forum for discussions on theoretical, methodological and  practices of voluntarism.

The Conference invites researchers, PhD-students and practitioners to share their insights and experiences.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


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Revised 2013.11.18