Contradictions in the action of the volunteer in civil society organizations: theoretical essay in the light of French pragmatic sociology

posted on 17.01.2018 by Tandara Dias Gonçalves, Denize Grzybovski, Anelise Rebelato Mozzato, Carlisa Smoktunowicz Toebe

Abstract Volunteering is a growing social phenomenon in the current context and is presented as an alternative to the logic of capitalism in the management of civil society organizations. However, it is possible that there are contradictions in the action of the volunteer, whose human action may be mediated by behavioral factors underlying apparent behavior, not always considered noble, such as egoism. This theoretical essay aims to understand what is behind human action in the behavior of volunteers of civil society organizations (CSOs). Therefore, the theoretical arguments were built by pragmatic sociology, which seeks to find reasons for acting through symbolic mediations, to the detriment of behavioral psychology. It is argued that volunteers are endowed with rational and justifiable behavior by three pragmatic regimes developed by Laurent Thévenot and by the complementary concepts of Frédéric Vandenberghe; both argue that human actions are justifiable. The arguments presented theoretically, confirm that the behavioral factors of the volunteers, produce effects on the results of the CSOs. These effects include the low degree of involvement of the volunteers with the organizations, since the justifications for acting can be centered on world such as “fame” and “mercantile”, contributing to generate uneasiness among researchers about the possible inference of what lies behind human action.