Modern Welfare and ‘Good Old’ Philanthropy

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article identifies a number of parallels between nineteenth-century philanthropy and contemporary social work that have so far received little attention in the ongoing debate on the relation between philanthropy and modern welfare. While adopting a critical perspective on social philanthropy, it does not take a definitive stance on the question of whether philanthropy cements marginality or constitutes a progressive agent for social change. Philanthropy's role in social policy can hardly be generalized across time and space; instead, its strategic functions must be examined in specific societies and at specific historical junctures. For this purpose the question of the relationship between philanthropy and modern welfare is re-formulated using Foucault's concept of ‘dispositive’. A series of decisive inventions that emerged from nineteenth-century poor relief are identified. Most importantly, the philanthropists gave twentieth-century social policy a recipient who is not a subject of formal rights, but possesses a series of social duties and responsibilities.
This article identifies a number of parallels between nineteenth-century philanthropy and contemporary social work that have so far received little attention in the ongoing debate on the relation between philanthropy and modern welfare. While adopting a critical perspective on social philanthropy, it does not take a definitive stance on the question of whether philanthropy cements marginality or constitutes a progressive agent for social change. Philanthropy's role in social policy can hardly be generalized across time and space; instead, its strategic functions must be examined in specific societies and at specific historical junctures. For this purpose the question of the relationship between philanthropy and modern welfare is re-formulated using Foucault's concept of ‘dispositive’. A series of decisive inventions that emerged from nineteenth-century poor relief are identified. Most importantly, the philanthropists gave twentieth-century social policy a recipient who is not a subject of formal rights, but possesses a series of social duties and responsibilities.
LanguageEnglish
JournalPublic Management Review (Print)
Volume13
Issue number8
Pages1057–1075
ISSN1471-9037
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Dispositive
  • Foucault
  • Philanthropic Poor Relief
  • Social Policy
  • Social Work

Cite this

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Modern Welfare and ‘Good Old’ Philanthropy. / Villadsen, Kaspar.

In: Public Management Review (Print), Vol. 13, No. 8, 2011, p. 1057–1075.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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