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Debates on the centrality of work

"“Give Back to the Community”: The World of American Voluntary Work and the Ethics of Community Responsibility"

by Simonet-Cusset, Maud (2002)


This article aims to clarify and analyse "the ethics of community responsibility" at the heart of voluntary work in the United States. After presenting the features of the American voluntary work, a network of individual and institutional actors that are public, private and "non-profit", we then highlight and analyse the various occurrences of the notion of "give back to the community", repeated as a motive in the speeches of the various actors from this world. We show how this "responsibility with regard to the community", which appears to be the "motto" (i.e. the rule, the principle which guides any action) for any voluntary practice in the United States, expresses a civic work ethic, an ethic of community responsibility, which takes over while also going beyond any voluntary practice.


Simonet, Sociology, Voluntarism, Unpaid Labour, Civic Service, American Context, Work Ethic, Community Work, Community Responsibility


Volunteer Work, Simonet

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