Fluid Forms of Organizing Volunteering: Producing Civic Action Through Organizational Maintenance

Cristine Dyhrberg Højgaard*, Liv Egholm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article explores the evolving nature of volunteering in fluid forms of organizing and their potential for civic action. While previous research suggests that highly individualized volunteering can undermine collectivity and disconnect tasks from change-oriented goals, thus diminishing its civic character, this study employs Lichterman and Eliasoph’s conceptual framework of civic action and Dewey’s concept of ends-in-view to demonstrate how civic action arises in fluid forms of organizing through the ongoing coordination of organizational maintenance. Drawing on an 18-month ethnographic study of female breakers aiming to improve women’s access to a male-dominated street dance scene, we find that fluid organizing produces a distinct form of volunteering that invigorates a collective and change-oriented endeavor. Our findings highlight the importance of understanding and investigating new contexts and forms of volunteering to shed new light on contemporary volunteerism, its multifaceted nature, and its potential to mobilize collective efforts for societal change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 28 March 2024.


  • Volunteering
  • Fluid forms of organizing
  • Civic action
  • Organizational maintenance
  • Breakdance

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