“I knew I needed to live what I realised was faith in me”: Enacting and transcending religious identity through food aid volunteering

Juliet R. H. Wakefield*, Mhairi Bowe, Blerina Këllezi, Lydia J. Harkin, Charles W. Baker, Ardiana Shala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Volunteering can enhance both help-recipients’ and volunteers’ lives, so it is important to explore what motivates people to begin and continue volunteering. For instance, research underpinned by the social identity approach recognises that group-related processes are consequential. Recent quantitative research within this tradition highlighted the potential importance of volunteering as a means of religious identity enactment, but no work has yet explored this idea qualitatively, which means that the richness and complexity of identity enactment as a motive for volunteering remains unexamined. Addressing this, we conducted interviews with volunteers (N = 26) within English religiously motivated voluntary organisations that are responding to an important real-world issue: growing levels of food insecurity. Theoretically guided reflexive thematic analysis developed four themes showing that volunteering can facilitate enactment of different identities (i.e., religious, volunteer and human), thus illustrating the nuanced and complex nature of identity enactment through volunteering. Theoretical and practical implications are explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-281
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume54
Issue number1
Early online date14 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • food aid
  • social identity
  • volunteering
  • identity enactment
  • volunteer identity
  • human identity

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of '“I knew I needed to live what I realised was faith in me”: Enacting and transcending religious identity through food aid volunteering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this