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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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Giving and getting: using charity’s symbolic power

Giving and getting: using charity’s symbolic power

(p.29) 2 Giving and getting: using charity’s symbolic power
The Good Glow

Jon Dean

Policy Press

This chapter discusses Paul Longmore's dogged and personal exploration of that most fluffy of charity spectacles, the charity telethon, as a way to start understanding the issues surrounding charitable giving, whether that be in the form of individual donations, corporate social responsibility programmes, or volunteering. Looking at these concepts through a symbolic lens, it asks those undeniably suspicious questions of ‘are people only doing this for something in return, and if so, what?’ Such explorations in ‘the other side’ of gifts and charity are contextualised through an overview of Marcel Mauss' study of gift giving, and how that doing good may always be part of a wider embedded relationship of exchange. The role of someone's charity adding to one's impression of them, and how, as such, it results in various strategic decisions, is viewed from the perspective of business, individuals, and charity fundraising and fundraisers themselves. While giving is practically always something to be celebrated, the chapter shows how charity is complicated and can be simultaneously positive and problematic.

Keywords:   Paul Longmore, charity telethon, charitable giving, charity, Marcel Mauss, gift giving, fundraising, fundraisers

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