History | Society | Theory

Our Blog

Voluntariness is more than voluntary civic engagement. Appeals for voluntary self-conduct, compliance, and sacrifice permeate our daily routines. For instance, we are called upon to take good care of our bodies and make the best of our lives, work overtime (because we love our jobs), or use a Corona tracing app and thus be a responsible citizen. Voluntary practices such as these are performed as acts of freedom, yet are enabled, endorsed, and sometimes demanded by manifold expectations and conditions beyond our reach.

This blog explores the power of voluntariness and how people and societies are governed through voluntariness. We very much hope that the scope of our topics and approaches will expand continuously over the course of time. We invite you to read our monthly posts, join the discussion, and comment on our articles.

Recent Posts

Research Unit

We are a group of historians, sociologists, and philosophers at the Universities of Erfurt, Jena, and Oldenburg, plus a number of associated scholars around the globe.

Together, we form the interdisciplinary Research Unit on Voluntariness, funded by the German Research Foundation (FOR 2983) since 2020. The variety of our individual research projects underscores the power, significance, and transformations of voluntariness from the Middle Ages to the present.

Our Projects

What’s Going On?

The Research Unit on Voluntariness is more than just our team. We are part of a growing international community of scholars who share an interest in the concept of voluntariness. We invite fellow researchers to join the discussion, not just in writing but also in person. For the next few years we are planning workshops and lecture series, and we will let you know what’s happening around voluntariness and our research unit.

Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted about news, events, and guests as well as all sorts of sidelines! Connect with us via our social media sites on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so you don’t miss anything!

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News & Sidelines