Bringing the Market Back in: Philanthropic Activism and Conservative Reform

Alice O̓Connor

in Politics and Partnerships

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780226109961
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226109985 | DOI:
Bringing the Market Back in: Philanthropic Activism and Conservative Reform

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This chapter focuses on the late twentieth-century rise of conservative philanthropic activism. The story of conservative movement philanthropy can contribute to the ongoing revision of the notion that nonprofit organizations, and philanthropy specifically, should be understood as part of a blurrily bounded “third” or “independent” sector that is somehow above particularism, politics, ideology, or identifiable “interests” other than the “public interest” or the “common good.” It is suggested that the rise and extraordinary success of conservative philanthropic activism offers a way of reframing the narrative of privatization in the nonprofit sector as more than simply a reaction to government devolution or the demise of the liberal New Deal welfare state. The chapter seeks to raise questions about how we might think about “bringing the market back in” to our own understanding of the nonprofit sector.

Keywords: philanthropic activism; conservative movement; privatization; nonprofit sector; New Deal; welfare state

Chapter.  11710 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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