The starting point of our contribution is an observation regarding different international volunteer service programmes which are all funded by the German federal government: Whilst the NGOs’ continuous call for public funding has finally been addressed, the same organizations are now increasingly concerned about a seemingly overbearing state. Hence, new questions regarding the relationship between civil society and the state emerge and have triggered a controversial debate. Yet, apart from very few exceptions (Jakob 2011; and for the context of a national volunteer programme: Strachwitz 2011), this debate lacks sound empirical analysis and, even more, theoretical foundation. We catch up on this debate and address it in two steps. First, we present a couple of theoretical approaches to analyse the situation. Second, we take a close empirical look at different state funded international volunteer programmes.1
1 We are grateful to Claudio Jax, Anna Veigel, Karin Schulz, Andreas Kluenter, Arne Bonhage and David Schaefer for their helpful comments, especially on the empirical section.