Crafting philanthropic identities

Mairi Maclean, Charles Harvey

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A salient if under-researched feature of the new age of global inequalities is the rise to prominence of entrepreneurial philanthropy, the pursuit of social goals through philanthropic investment in projects animated by entrepreneurial principles. This chapter proposes a typology of the philanthropic identities that wealthy individuals craft during their philanthropic journeys. The scale of philanthropic ambition is closely linked to the type of identity assumed, allied to the dominant philanthropic orientation adopted, whether institutional or transformational. Some philanthropists, who assume a localized perspective, seek to re-embed disadvantaged communities to which they feel allegiance. Others, desiring social transformation, aspire to re-set current systems through the scale of their endeavours. Four generic philanthropic identities are explored, labelled ‘local hero’, ‘pillar of society’, ‘social crusader’ and ‘game changer’ respectively. In making sense of philanthropic identities, this chapter extends theoretical approaches to the study of contemporary entrepreneurial philanthropy, still at a pre-paradigmatic, embryonic stage.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Identities in Organizations
EditorsAndrew D. Brown
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780198827115
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2020


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