Over the past few years, the area of volunteer work and civic engagement are topics that have received increasing attention from both the public as well as sociological research. In particular, there has been a controversy as to what - gree voluntary work can be regarded as a collecti... ve solution for attenuating - bour market problems and risks of social exclusion. Empirical evidence for the employment effects of voluntary work has made scholars more sceptical than many optimistic scenarios. So far, however, the links between paid work and voluntary work have mainly been discussed as either a phenomenon on the macro-level of society (like the question of substi- tion effects) and/or on the basis of results from cross-sectional research. While there has been some evidence for an association between unemployment and reduced engagement in voluntary work - which may represent cumulative dis- vantage rather than means of compensation - we know relatively little about the dynamics and directions of causality on the individual level. In contrast to conventional research, the study by Susanne Strau offers a careful and thorough analysis of mutual relationships between unemployment and voluntary work as they show up as activities in individual life courses.
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