Charity and Volunteerism in Southeast Asia

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Panel

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Abstract

As economies across Southeast Asia rapidly expand and change, social service needs are also growing. In response, local volunteerism is on the rise. Through this panel, presenters will compare international and grassroots charity programs in Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand. Papers will include ethnographic research on nation-wide youth charity programs by the Communist Party of Vietnam, Catholic housing cooperatives in the Philippines, humanitarian organizations working with refugees in Thailand, and Buddhist “charity tours” to visit ethnic minority groups in Vietnam.

The panel will examine how local and grassroots volunteer initiatives challenge academic critiques of humanitarianism as flowing from the Global North to Global South. Presenters will also compare how charity groups respond to social service needs produced through unique local, national, and religous contexts. Finally, panelists will consider how charity and volunteerism are shaped – productively or destructively – by national visions of civic duty and ethnic status.