• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Voluntary Associations

Voluntary associations (also called voluntary organizations, secondary associations, or just associations) may be defined as groups that have some sort of formal organizational structure, made up of people who come together of their own will to pursue a common interest or goal.

Participation in associational activities gives members the chance to interact with others, with whom they may exchange information and advice on a given issue. Generally in associations, a network of social relationships is created, based on trust and common standards of reciprocity, also known as “social capital,” which can help facilitate processes of social cooperation both economically and politically.

For almost two decades, scientific and public debates have focused on the relationship between participation in associations and the quality of democracies. Scholars have concentrated particularly ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles