This informative bibliographic study provides the most thorough survey available of the literature on voluntary associations. The authors first sketch major theories on the origin, growth, and functions of voluntary associations and discuss the place of associations in political theory, viewing especially the unproven assumption that voluntary associations are beneficial to a democratic society. They then survey the findings on the role of voluntary associations in the political and social structure (abroad as well as in the United States). The specific organizations themselves are covered and the final chapter views a recent development in the field—volunteers in government service, such as the Peace Corps. The final section of each chapter is an annotated bibliography of works cited in the text or related to its subject; over 600 items are listed.