What do we mean by philanthropy studies?

Alliance magazine

What do we mean by philanthropy studies?
While political studies and business studies are established fields, the conceptual space between the state and market is more ambiguous. The meanings ascribed to philanthropy vary considerably and different frames of study –philanthropic studies, social economy, social entrepreneurship, voluntary sector studies, civil society studies, non-profit management – compete for primacy and academic respectability.

For this special feature, Alliance is looking at teaching and research on the history, theory and practice of private contributions for the public good. In reality, instances of this may be hard to spot as courses are held – with rare exceptions – under the auspices of a specific school or discipline.

What we have included here are academic chairs or centres where philanthropy forms part of the name or there are degrees and courses with the word ‘philanthropy’ in the title, or where teaching about philanthropy constitutes an identifiable part of the curriculum.

In search of data
There is no single repository of information on the field. Courses on philanthropy go where they fit, or are wanted, or where there is money for them. Alliance has drawn on a number of sources – data that already exist, internet searches, word-of-mouth, prior knowledge – to compile this picture.

In doing so, the people we’ve talked to also noted the need for a thoroughly researched, up-to-date and comprehensive source of data. We invite readers to identify gaps and we will share an updated list online.


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