Exhorting people to volunteer is part of the everyday vocabulary of American politics. Routinely, members of both major parties call for partnerships between government and nonprofit organizations. These entreaties increase dramatically during times of crisis, and the voluntary efforts of ordinary citizens are now seen as a necessary supplement to government intervention. But despite the ubiquity of the idea of volunteerism in public policy debates, analysis of its role in American governance has been fragmented. Bringing together a diverse set of disciplinary approaches, "Politics and Partnerships" is a thorough examination of the place of voluntary associations in political history and an astute investigation into contemporary experiments in reshaping that role. The essays here reveal the key role nonprofits have played in the evolution of both the workplace and welfare and illuminate the way the government's retreat from welfare has radically altered the relationship between nonprofits and corporations.
Elisabeth S. Clemens is professor of sociology and Master of the Social Sciences Collegiate Division at the University of Chicago. Doug Guthrie is professor of sociology at New York University with a joint appointment in the Department of Management and Organization at the Stern School of Business.