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I've got your back: Danger, volunteering and solidarity in lifeboat crews

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    Rights statement: The final version of this paper has been published in Work, Employment and Society by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved. © O'Toole& Calvard, 2019 It is available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0950017019862962

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Original languageEnglish
JournalWork, Employment And Society
Early online date26 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jul 2019

Abstract

This article considers solidarity as a dynamic interrelationship between intersubjective and structural processes that underpin webs of meaning in dangerous work conditions. Conceptual links are developed to integrate previously unconnected aspects of work and relationships between danger, volunteering, edgework and solidarity - revealing how a distinct form of solidarity is engendered and experienced. Drawing on 43 in-depth interviews with Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) workers operating in the UK and Ireland (12 paid and 31 volunteers), the analysis illuminates experiences of solidarity in a dangerous working environment. Findings reveal that solidarity is constituted by the interplay between volunteering work practices, shared experiences of rescues, and the meaningful purpose of safeguarding human life. This empirical study provides a basis for theorising distinct conditions relating to solidarity as differentiated from previous work on the concept. Further implications are discussed for contexts where various forms of danger and solidarity might be experienced.

    Research areas

  • dangerous work, edgework, meaningful work, solidarity, volunteering

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