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The Good GlowCharity and the Symbolic Power of Doing Good$
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Jon Dean

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447340027

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447340027.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
The Good Glow

Jon Dean

Policy Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of charity. Charity is a subject largely untouched by modern sociologists, often left instead to the policy analysts who seek to understand the logic of charities, their management, their delivery of services, and their resourcing. In focusing mainly on charity and not on charities, this book re-examines that more ephemeral notion, and brings a new theoretical lens to how charity operates and works in modern society. This includes a desire to focus on the social reaction to acts of charity, and how that reaction plays out in the internal monologue of the charitable individual. The book shows what it is that makes charity ‘good’, and how this awareness of charity's goodness drives more charity, in a way that can be rewarding for the demonstrably charitable, but also how this goodness creates huge silences and violences about how charity is both practised and operationalised. The ‘good glow’ of charity is inherently powerful and sociologically problematic in terms of policy and everyday practice.

Keywords:   charity, policy, charities, charitable acts, charitable individual, goodness

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