The Messiness of Common Good: Translation of Concepts and Practices Between Non-civil and Civil Spheres. The Egmont Foundation 1920-2014

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    Civil society and its philanthropic and voluntary organisations are currently experiencing public and political attention and demands to safeguard society’s ‘common good’ through social cohesion and as providers of welfare services. This has raised the question by both practitioners and researchers alike of whether civil society and its organisations can maintain their specific institutional logic if they are messed up with other logics (state and market). These concerns spring from a sector model that has championed research of civil society. The paper dismisses the sector model and claims that a distinction between the non-civil and the civil is more fruitful, if we
    want to understand the past, present and future messiness in place in defining the common good. Based on an ethnographic case analysis of a Danish corporate foundation between 1920 and 2014 the paper shows how philanthropic gift-giving concepts, practices and operational forms throughout history have played a significant role in defining the common good and its future avenues. Through an analytical attitude based on microhistory, conceptual history and the sociology of translation it shows that civil society’s institutional logic always has been messed up with other logics and that it is this mess that creates contemporary definitions of the common good.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2016
    Number of pages26
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventThe 32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016: Organizing in the Shadow of Power - Napoli, Italy
    Duration: 7 Jul 20169 Jul 2016
    Conference number: 32


    ConferenceThe 32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016
    Internet address

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