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Moral Citizenship

center on wealth and philanthropy

"The Boston Area Diary Study and the Moral Citizenship of Care."
Paul G. Schervish and John J. Havens. To be published in Voluntas, March 2002. Originally presented for the thematic session, "Volunteerism, Citizenship, and the New Century," at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Chicago, Aug. 6-10, 1999.
This paper describes the theoretical foundations, empirical findings, and practical implications of what we call the moral citizenship or moral economy of care. In particular, we present an identification model of care; discuss how it shaped the way we conceptualized, collected, and analyzed the data in our year-long diary study of daily voluntary assistance; and suggest that when civic engagement is properly defined and measured there may in fact be no deterioration in the physical or moral density of associational life as is suggested by many contemporary commentators.

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"Creating a Moral Biography of Wealth: A Conversation with Paul G. Schervish"
Creating a moral biography of wealth is a process that ultimately helps wealth-holders chart a path of greater happiness - for themselves, their families, and the world around them. Paul Schervish discusses this spiritual process of self-examination that goes well beyond portfolio analysis or financial tools in the Merrill Lynch Whitepaper, Creating a Moral Biography of Wealth: A Conversation with Paul G. Schervish. For the full text of this conversation please follow the link below.

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"The Labeling Perspective: Its Bias and Potential in the Study of Political Deviance"

By Paul G. Schervish. Published in The American Sociologist. May 1973.

The most popular perspective on deviant behavior at the present time is commonly called the labeling approach. This approach, first enunciated in Tannenbaum’s (1938) comments on “The Dramatization of Evil” and in Edwin M. Lemert’s (1951) Social Pathology, is most badly stated by Becker (1963:9): “The deviant is one to whom that label has successfully been applied; deviant behavior is behavior that people so label.”

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"The Moral Biography of Wealth: Philosophical Reflections on the Foundation of Philanthropy."
Paul G. Schervish. Published in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Volume 35, No. 3, pp. 466-492. September 2006.
Moral biography refers to the way all individuals conscientiously combine two elements in daily life: personal capacity and moral compass. Exploring the moral biography of wealth highlights the philosophical foundations of major gifts by major donors. First, the author provides several examples to elucidate his definition of moral biography. Second, he elaborates the elements of a moral biography. Third, he describes the characteristics that make one's moral biography a spiritual or religious biography. Fourth, he discusses the distinctive characteristics of a moral biography of wealth. Fifth, he suggests that implementing a process of discernment will enable development professionals to work more productively with donors. The author concludes by placing the notion of a moral biography of wealth in historical context and suggests how advancement professionals can deepen their own moral biography by working to deepen the moral biography of their donors.

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"Philanthropy as a Moral Identity of Caritas."
Paul G. Schervish. In Taking Giving Seriously, edited by Paul G. Schervish, Obie Benz, Peggy Dulaney, Thomas B. Murphy, and Stanley Salett. Indianapolis: Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, 1993. 85-104.
This paper proposes a definition of philanthropy as a social relation of care and explores what it means for philanthropy to become integral to moral identity. To say that one has a philanthropic identity means that one's moral biography is shaped in large measure by devotion to the quantity and quality of one's charity.

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"Political Trials and the Social Construction of Deviance"

By Paul G. Schervish. Published in Qualitative Sociology. Fall 1984.

In the 1960s and early 1970s deviance research, especially in the labeling perspective, was concerned with the question of how individuals or groups become defined as deviant. Since then, the political analysis of deviance has come to ask the more fundamental question of how deviance becomes constructed through political process. A political trial is one particular transparent situation in which narrower political processes for imputing deviance elicit more fundamental interpretations of political modes of deviance construction…

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"A River Rises in Eden: Exploring the Quotidian Tributaries of the Moral Citizenship of Care."
Paul G. Schervish and John J. Havens. Revised version of invited presentation for the thematic session, "Volunteerism, Citizenship, and the New Century," at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Chicago, Aug. 6-10, 1999.
This paper describes the theoretical foundations, empirical findings, and practical implications of what we call the moral citizenship or moral economy of care. In particular, we present an identification model of care; discuss how it shaped the way we conceptualized, collected, and analyzed the data in our year-long diary study of daily voluntary assistance; and suggest that when civic engagement is properly defined and measured there may in fact be no deterioration in the physical or moral density of associational life as is suggested by many contemporary commentators.

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"The Sense and Sensibility of Philanthropy as a Moral Citizenship of Care."Paul G. Schervish, (2005) Good Intentions: Moral Obstacles and Opportunities, David H. Smith (editor) Indiana University Press.
The leading question of this paper is how to understand the moral dimensions of philanthropy as a spiritual sense and sensibility. The purpose is to elaborate a modestly integrated analysis of several aspects of philanthropy that make it a morally oriented behavior in the lives of donors.

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