‘Bringing them with personal interests’: the role of cultural capital in explaining who volunteers
Harflett, Naomi (2015)


This article seeks to improve explanations for the inequality in participation of formal volunteering by connecting two so far disconnected perspectives on volunteering. While it is well established that volunteering can be a form of leisure, this perspective has not been integrated
with the literature which recognises that participation in formal volunteering requires resources or capital. Based on a study of volunteering in the National Trust, the article argues that recognising that volunteering for the National Trust is a form of leisure participation in heritage
or the countryside that requires cultural capital is key to explaining the predominantly white, middle-class profile of regular property-based National Trust volunteers. Given that most formal volunteering occurs in sports, exercise, hobby or recreation organisations, recognising that volunteering
can be a form of leisure that requires cultural capital can make an important contribution to understanding inequality in participation of formal volunteering.

Published in