The Insulated World of Volunteering: Citizenship and Gift Exchange at the Ecological Movement of Thessaloniki
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"As an outcome of a three months ethnographic fieldwork in Thessaloniki, Greece, this thesis offers a novel approach to the relational understanding of volunteerism as a modality to enact citizenship de facto, for both citizens and non-citizens who volunteer in the humanitarian field for refugee aid. The aim of this thesis is to trace the ways in which citizenship de facto plays out in the context of voluntary work at the Ecological Movement of Thessaloniki, as a citizenship in flux, whereby actors of citizenship (volunteers) engage in acts of citizenship. Research participants include citizens from various countries and asylum seekers, who volunteer for refugee aid. Thus, citizenship de facto and volunteerism represent the thematic core of the thesis. Volunteerism is conceptualized as a tool both citizens and refugees utilize to experience and/or reshape their sense of citizenship in practice. In terms of theory, I employ the concepts of gift-giving, solidarity, and acts of citizenship, in a relational manner, in order to analyze volunteers motivations, experiences and actions regarding voluntary work, the concepts of citizenship and gift-giving constituting the theoretical debate I am addressing."