Avoiding Intimacy: An Ethnographic Study of Beneficent Boundaries in Virtual Voluntary Social Work

Bidragets oversatte titel: At undgå nærhed: Et etnografisk studie af velgørende grænser i virtuelt frivilligt socialt arbejde

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Abstrakt

Within the rich literature on volunteering, the topic of volunteer-user interaction and the mechanisms causing or mitigating inequality in this interaction remain understudied. Moreover, knowledge on how digitalization affects voluntary interaction is scarce. Based on a qualitative study of a Danish organization that offers virtual voluntary tutoring, this paper shows how technological and formal aspects of the organizational context may mitigate the risk of volunteers engaging in paternalistic, intimacy-seeking behaviour. First, reliance on information and communications technology (ICT) and managerial logics sustains a bounded form of interaction in which solving a problem is the focal point, while access to personal background information is limited. Second, the organizational design suspends sociability as a criterion for differential treatment of users. Third, anonymous mediated interaction enables temporal and audio-visual asymmetry, allowing users to perform ‘digitally sustained impression management’.
Bidragets oversatte titelAt undgå nærhed: Et etnografisk studie af velgørende grænser i virtuelt frivilligt socialt arbejde
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftVOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
ISSN0957-8765
StatusUdgivet - 2021

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