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Over the past decade, philanthropic giving in China has entered a new era. A series of natural disasters triggered an upsurge in public giving; the changing social environment transformed individuals’ pattern of giving behavior. By discussing the influence of three major traditional Chinese philosophies (i.e. Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism) on philanthropy, this paper argues that China’s philanthropy is not a reflex behavior after acute calamity, but an intrinsic intention within humanity. This paper also highlights that being aware of this intention of giving allows donors to not only simply share their resources, but also mindfully facilitate civic engagement. This mindful sharing process, therefore, builds a social culture that collectively empowers vulnerable populations, which is the purpose of philanthropic giving. The paper concludes that mindful sharing emphasizes the intention of giving, fosters a sustainable culture of giving, and achieves an ideal state of collective empowerment.

In: The China Nonprofit Review

As the civil society and corporatism theories have been frequently challenged recently, alternative theories emerged to investigate the government-ngo relationship in China. Some new theories are largely related to resource dependence or share core ideas with it. This paper conducts a comprehensive review of the resource dependence theory. It identifies four groups of variables (organizational characteristics, board of directors, attitude and value, and external environment), finds support for their relevance from both Western and China scholarship, and applies them to the Chinese context. The resource dependence theory has the potential of empirically examining the relationship without over-focusing on the state or society. It is capable of explaining the dynamic and diverse relationships between the government and various ngos in China.

In: The China Nonprofit Review

Over recent years, grassroots organizations develop rapidly in China and have aroused attention of the academia. Given the lack of their legal legitimacy, how the grassroots organizations endeavor to survive and develop by leveraging relevant activity strategies is a subject worth in-depth research. This article, through a case study of a bird protection union in D City, finds that the grassroots organizations pursue substantive legitimacy via strategies targeting two aspects, namely, the entity that endows the legitimacy and the value judgment. Such strategies that arise from the interaction between the grassroots organizations and the government as well as society hold a non-negligible significance for social governance in China.

In: The China Nonprofit Review

As the bridge between the government and the society, Chinese political social associations are faced with the problem of repositioning and system reconstruction in the period of comprehensive social transformation. In her book Between State and Society: Research on Functions of Political Social Associations in China, Prof. Chu Songyan studied the eight major people’s organizations and analyzes the legitimacy and functions of Chinese political social associations using a function-legitimacy framework. In light of the state of Chinese political social associations – their legitimacy of system is enhanced, their legitimacy of value impacted, their social legitimacy challenged, and their social functions overwhelmed by political ones, the author, considering the reality of China, national development strategies and the trends of times, proposed a path of transformation for Chinese political social associations which stresses the balanced development of their functions. The value of this book lies in its distinct definition and classification of Chinese political social associations, its comprehensive analysis of their functions, and its theory of a path for transformation which stresses the balanced development of their functions.

In: The China Nonprofit Review
Organizational governance has become a popular and important topic in third-sector research. This review focuses on the governance of paid-staff nonprofit organizations (also called nonprofit agencies), which are characterized by a hierarchical structure where the board has the power and the responsibility to ensure that governance functions are carried out. In this review, Van Puyvelde discusses previous literature on nonprofit organization governance. Next, a wide array of theoretical perspectives are presented that may be useful when studying the governance of nonprofit organizations. In order to analyze a number of important contemporary governance challenges, some of these theories are integrated by using a paradox perspective. The underlying idea is that depending upon the governance challenge under consideration, a different combination of theoretical perspectives may be required. Van Puyvelde concludes that different theoretical frameworks can co-exist in the literature, each addressing a different issue in nonprofit governance.
Despite the availability of a wide range of literature on what is can be construed to be philanthropic behaviour in Africa, there is limited conceptual discussion on what constitutes philanthropy in African context(s). Yet, philanthropic behaviour is culturally rooted phenomena manifesting in diverse forms, expressions, and models. This review contributes to a growing body of literature on conceptions and manifestations of African philanthropy. The review illustrates a complex plurality of actions that fall under cultures and practices of giving in Africa. These include the giving of money, time, knowledge, influence and visibility in support of a cause, valuable goods, and body parts/organs from living and dead. While some of these actions conform to dominant Western notions of philanthropy, others do not. From an analysis of these practices, this paper proposes that African philanthropy can be conceptually structured on the basis of spheres of philanthropic practice, and the underlying bases and motivations for philanthropy. On spheres of philanthropic practice, at least three forms of philanthropy exist: institutional (formal); non-institutional (non-formal/informal/direct); and a hybrid form that blends practices from the formal and informal spheres. On motivations for giving, the predominant forms are based on mutuality, solidarity and counter-obligation inherent in collectivist and humanistic African philosophies of life. Further, motivations are drawn from religious obligations, institutional requirements on corporate bodies, and institutional arrangements in the development process. There are, nonetheless, significant overlaps between spheres of practice and motivations in contemporary philanthropic practices in Africa. For instance, philanthropic culture in Africa manifests as religious giving, donations to individuals or institutions, mutual aid, reciprocal, self-help revolving fund organisations, corporate social responsibility activities, and individual/family donations to public benefit organisations. These practices highlight a rich tapestry of spheres of practice and motivations for giving practices, where the wealthy and the poor are equally involved. The review, concentrates (by choice) on giving of money and time (volunteering, especially informal volunteering) due to dearth of academic literature on other forms of giving as philanthropy in Africa

This paper draws on empirical research undertaken in mainland China spanning five years to examine the role of a quiet, incremental, and holistic approach adopted by grassroots ngos as they attempt to carve out greater governance and service provision roles for themselves and influence the state. In light of this approach, it also questions the way we conceptualize the autonomy of ngos and the search for contestation between ngos and the state which clouds our view of more subtle yet powerful interaction. It goes on to suggest that by adjusting the lens through which we interpret the transformation of the state-society relationship, we may be able to form a clearer understanding of the wave-like development of civil society in China as the space for social organizing expands and contracts on an upward trajectory.

In: The China Nonprofit Review

This paper examines charitable giving from wealthy individuals in both the United States and China. It assesses the motivations of wealthy donors and analyzes the donation trends from the top fifty philanthropists in the last decade in both countries. The data depicts that in both the United States and China, asset size increases more rapidly than donation rates over time. Capitalism offers a possible way to advance social development; however, increasing income inequality may damage the advancement. While substantial philanthropic engagement from wealthy individuals may be an important mechanism to balance capitalism and income inequality, the data indicates that collective sharing of capital continues to have room to further develop.

In: The China Nonprofit Review

A bibliometric analysis is applied in this research to evaluate the trends of social organization research between 1994 and 2014 in published Chinese literature of all subject categories from China National Knowledge Infrastructure (cnki) database. Document types, publication patterns, subject categories, journal articles, top cited papers, and long-term distribution of keyword networks are thoroughly examined. Bibliographic information is used to summarize the overall research trends, themes, and academic trajectorys of this research area. The study indicates that over the past 20 years, the development of China’s social organization research has four stages. In addition, both theoretical and practical explorations of China’s social organization research are growing progressively with a shift of research focus from Westernization to localization, from civil society to public service, and from small independent researchers to a discourse system of significant scale.

In: The China Nonprofit Review