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Traut, Carol Ann.  Volunteering and Politics; A Study of Volunteers and Their Attitudes on the Political World.  (dissertation)  Florida State University, College of Social Sciences, 1988.

Summary:  The author interviewed thirteen individuals from the Tallahassee area who volunteered in the area of social services (e.g., working in soup kitchens, being mentors to at-risk kids, participating in religious societies, etc.) to examine the relationship between their political views and their voluntarism.  Finds that their attitudes are remarkably similar to those of any other American, and that they view volunteering as an apolitical activity.

"These individuals are also active in conventional political activities.  However, when they discuss these activities, they describe them as nonpolitical, and deny any political meaning to their own volunteering.  Like many people, they give politics a narrow and negative definition involving self-interest and conflict.  Cooperative acts such as volunteerins are therefore not seen as political.

"Their beliefs about individual roles versus governmental role in providing for individual well-being are remarkably similar to those of most Americans.  Despite their activism, none of these volunteers suggest alternative social and political approaches to the handling of inequalities in American society.  All of them accept the current political structure.  At the same time, these individuals express a desire to help others.

".Volunteering does not necessarily lead to a change in beliefs or to a greater activism in the traditional political world.  In fact, volunteerism allows individuals to be active without forcing them to confront larger social problems.  On the other hand, volunteerism pulls individuals out of their separate and private worlds into the public realm even if only for a brief time."   (pp. ii-iii)