Critical Studies in Voluntary Action – a new independent online journal


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A warm welcome to this new initiative, which calls for short ‘think-pieces’ or ‘notes from the field’, in our case the voluntary youth sector.

A New Journal

Contributions are invited for a new journal to be published online twice a year from Autumn 2015 onwards. This new initiative has been launched by a group of academics and practitioners who have serious reservations about the current direction of research on voluntary organisations and volunteering and the publications that reflect that direction of travel.

Towards a Different Narrative of Voluntary Action

The journal will encourage and help to develop an account of voluntary action that:

  • embraces a much wider range of voluntary and community activity than the work of professionally-led and bureaucratically organised voluntary agencies whose main function is to work with government on the delivery of public services. We are just as interested in mutual aid groups; advocacy and campaigning organisations; informal and non-bureaucratic collective action and other kinds of civil society organisations. And the journal will feature research on activities in the worlds of leisure, recreation and the arts, community development and the natural and built environments.
  • involves a more critical approach to discussing the role and significance of voluntary organisations and volunteering in our society and, more specifically, questions the twin assumptions of much current research and writing that voluntary organisations are natural partners of government and that the key questions are about how they can make themselves more efficient in the delivery of services.
  • challenges the infiltration of the culture and behaviours of the market into the non-market parts of our society and reasserts the idea that voluntary action embodies/expresses important and distinctive values that are not compatible with a market society.


We are looking for contributions written in clear, accessible English of two kinds:

  • Full-length articles based on research and making a contribution to the development of critical theory of up to 8,000 words. These will be subject to peer review before publication.
  • Shorter articles of up to 2-3,000 words in the form of ‘think-pieces’ or ‘notes from the field’. These will be published at the discretion of the editorial board.

We are also looking for volunteers to act as peer reviewers.

Contributions, proposals for articles, offers to review submissions and requests for further information should be sent to the Editorial Board’s convenor, Colin Rochester at


Critical Studies in Voluntary Action will be published online twice a year in the Spring and in the Autumn. The first issue is scheduled for Autumn 2015. It will be made available via the ARVAC and NCIA websites.

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