Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (School of Arts and Sciences)

Schools and Centres

Arts & Sciences

First Supervisor

Associate Professor Dawn Darlaston-Jones

Second Supervisor

Joan Wardrop


The focus of this case study is an examination of the factors that motivate people to engage in volunteerism working with asylum seekers. In the research project, volunteering is understood as a civic responsibility of an active member of society which involves social interactions that foster social inclusion: active citizenship. The co-researcher agency of this project is the Perth based Centre for Asylum seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD). The project aim is to investigate the values, belief systems, and attitudes of CARAD’s volunteers. This informed the decision to employ a social constructionist approach and is intended to enable further understanding of the aspects of a volunteer identity that involve critical self-reflexivity and understanding of the volunteers’ position within the issue of asylum seeking. Fourteen volunteers, many of whom assist with student support, detention centre visits and visa application workshops, were interviewed within two focus groups. Past and current political and social discourses will be analysed and unpacked, followed by employing critical theory and with the influence of Nakata’s cultural interface theory (CIT) as the theoretical perspectives. Conscientisation, a heightened level of socio-political awareness, and information about the organisation are the two major themes, which are explained within the findings. This study contributes to filling gaps that exist in regards to volunteerism within the forced migration sector. The findings suggest that volunteering within the migration sector can bring about social change and that it has the potential to enhance social and cultural diversity.