The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

Voluntary work as the new leisure: perspectives of older women cancer sufferers

Watts, Jacqueline H. (2010). Voluntary work as the new leisure: perspectives of older women cancer sufferers. In: XVII World Congress of Sociology, 11-17 July 2010, Goteborg, Sweden.

Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

Voluntary work can be distinguished from paid employment in that it is freely undertaken and is often motivated by altruism. The application of specialist knowledge to some volunteering has prompted recognition of ‘skilled volunteering’ as serious leisure, giving rise to the concept of the ‘leisure career’. For retired people the attributes associated with employment, such as social utility, inform the role of volunteer. This paper discusses ethnographic participant observation research conducted at a cancer drop-in facility. Data revealed the importance of maintaining a congruent and socially useful ‘self’; for some this meant that retirement as a time of freedom and leisure had been traded for a set of obligations in volunteer roles. This paper focuses on the voluntary efforts of a number of older women in a range of settings and reveals how the value of ‘other-centredness’, even in the face of deteriorating health, contributes to personal ‘wellness’ and social inclusion. Although leisure in western scholarship has been defined as discretionary time that is free of obligation or duty, the research reported herein argues that a sense of duty to ‘the other’ in the form of committed and regular voluntary activity contributes to personal well-being and enhances quality of life.


Item Type: Conference Item
Keywords: cancer; leisure; voluntary work; women
Academic Unit/Department: Health and Social Care
Related URLs:
Item ID: 22366
Depositing User: Jacqueline H. Watts
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2010 15:49
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2013 13:48
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/22366
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

View Item
Report issue / request change

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340   general-enquiries@open.ac.uk