Title

Who is Making Global Civil Society? US Philanthropy and Empire in World Society

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

12-2006

Abstract

Theories of US hegemony commonly ignore the role of American philanthropy in the contemporary transformations of world society and the globalization of capitalism. In this essay, I suggest that the philanthropic foundation, and with it the institution of philanthropy, is being invigorated by the expansion of its domestic role to foreign activities and to globally framed activities within the USA. I propose that US philanthropy exports American understandings of democracy and simultaneously organizes global reflexivity through citizenship education for the US populace. I offer a preliminary theoretical interpretation of the empirical patterns of international grant-making activities by US foundations, considering John W. Meyer's concept of 'instrumental culture' and some arguments made by Foucauldian 'governmentality' scholars. I emphasize the need to conceptualize the cultural-symbolic and organizational dimensions of hegemony and suggest further sociological analysis of philanthropic activities as integral to current politically and economically led transformations of societies around the globe.

Keywords

Civil society, empire, globalization of capitalism, hegemony, philanthropy, United States of America

Discipline

Politics and Social Change

Research Areas

Sociology

Publication

British Journal of Sociology

Volume

57

Issue

4

First Page

635

Last Page

655

ISSN

0007-1315

Identifier

10.1111/j.1468-4446.2006.00129.x

Publisher

Wiley

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-4446.2006.00129.x

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