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Research at St Andrews

Alasdair Norman Stewart Gordon-Gibson


Alasdair Norman Stewart Gordon-Gibson


Research overview

Current research (PhD): Voluntary Service: a study of trust and trustworthiness

My research examines the phenomenon of ‘voluntary service’ with consideration of the role of the auxiliary volunteer in environments of humanitarian emergency. Through analysis of discourse across differing contexts of humanitarian response, the study explores opportunities that emerge from refreshed understandings of its volunteers as a community with a common purpose, bringing emergency relief and protection to populations in distress. The study begins by considering its framing within ‘the phenomenon of community’ and a search for ‘common meanings’. It is within this social space and its iterations of communal needs that my study will focus and from where I argue voluntary service draws its identity and its strength. This phase of my thesis focuses on considerations of how notions of ‘trust’ and ‘trustworthiness’ frame this community of volunteers and how variant understandings of good faith and intent influence the construction of a legitimate, protected space for independent voluntary action in complex emergencies.


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