Messy Relationships: Tracing Networks of Concepts and Practices in Philanthropic Gift-giving

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    “The common good” is a contested concept both presently and historically. The contestation takes place both through definitions and concrete practices of gift-giving at the messy and blurred intersection between state, marked and civil society. From the Danish constitution of 1849 until today, philanthropic gift-giving has played a vibrant role in defining and organizing “the common good” and the ensuing practices in modern society. The paper argues for a theoretical and methodological approach that takes the blurred and messy as a starting point. It conceptualises philanthropic gift-giving as a continuous and negotiated process between actors whose actions and utterances have implications for the relationships between state, market and civil society. The paper first outlines a theoretical and methodological approach that connects ANT and microhistory with conceptual history and focuses on how to trace the networks of concepts and practices of the “common good” in a historical perspective. Second, it presents an empirical analysis of how a corporate philanthropic foundation, the Egmont Foundation from Denmark, through concrete gift-giving practices and concepts plays an important role in shaping the messy relationship between state, market and civil society. The overall aim of this paper is through an empirical analysis of philanthropic gift-giving to show how a combination of elements from microhistory, ANT and conceptual history contribute to the study of messiness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2015
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventISCH Conference 2015 - University of Bucharest Campus, Bucharest, Romania
    Duration: 7 Sept 201510 Sept 2015


    ConferenceISCH Conference 2015
    LocationUniversity of Bucharest Campus
    Internet address

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