Degree Date



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work and Social Research


Through the study of a single department by intensive interviewing and participant observation, I examined volunteer firefighting, an embattled form of voluntarism that remains essential in America's smaller communities. The firefighters provided insights about their work, the organization and social structure of their department, and how they manage these along with other demands in their lives. They described their motives and the ways they are challenged and sustained. I conclude by discussing the future of the volunteer fire service and make recommendations about how to address some of its problems and perhaps those of other voluntary associations.