Voluntary Work in the Nordic Region – Societal Cohesion in a New Era

image of Voluntary Work in the Nordic Region – Societal Cohesion in a New Era

Available online: https://pub.norden.org/nord2020-031/ Abstract [en]: Voluntary work is important in itself, but it also creates cohesion and other important resources for society. In the Nordic region, voluntary work has also been a key feature in the democratic debate, and has been important for creating political inclusion. This report indicates that voluntary work in the Nordic region remains stable but, under the surface, structural changes are taking place that suggest that voluntary work and organisations are now finding a different role to the one they occupied previously.

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Voluntary work and its role

In his book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Robert Putnam describes an almost decaying society, where fewer and fewer people are engaging in voluntary organisations. Voter turnout in elections and involvement in other political activities have also fallen over time. People are also participating less in religious activities. The book describes a general decrease in all forms of the type of personal interaction around which the US population previously built much of their social life. Putnam describes the development in terms of declining social capital.

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