|Book Notes - 2009|
BOOK NOTES - 2009
Mexican Solidarity: Citizen Participation and Volunteering. Edited by Jacqueline Butcher. Springer, (forthcoming December 2009). 300 pages. Cost: US $129. To order:http://www.springer.com.
This comprehensive volume presents research on Mexican practices of solidarity where citizens were engaged in working towards helping others voluntarily. It set out to investigate the nature and quality of the work and time that volunteers give towards obtaining the common good, in a country where the awareness of the importance of social capital needs to be reinforced for the development of democracy.
The purpose of this research was not only to present numbers, facts, and data on a national scale but also to explore the depths of citizen participation in the everyday lives and activities of the Mexican population. Mexico’s Solidarity provides a strong contribution by finding ways to promote and maintain social cohesion through the best volunteer practices. The techniques and findings of this case study on Mexico provide a valuable contribution to the Nonprofit and Third Sector research internationally.
Charity in Islamic Societies. By Amy Singer. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008. 264 pages. Cost: Hardback £ 48, US$88.99; Paperback £16.99, US $29.99. To order: http://www.cambridge.org/us/Muslim beliefs have inspired charitable giving for over fourteen centuries, yet Islamic history has rarely been examined from this perspective. In Charity in Islamic Societies, Amy Singer explains the basic concepts and institutions of Muslim charity, including the obligation to give on an annual basis. Charitable endowments shaped Muslim societies and cultures in every era. This book demonstrates how historical circumstances, social status, gender, age and other factors interacted with religious ideals to create a rich variety of charitable practices, from the beginnings of Islam to the present day. Using written texts, buildings, images and objects to anchor the discussions in each chapter, the author explores the motivations for charity, its impact on the rich and the poor, and the politicisation of charity.
What is the worth of the social economy? What worth does the social economy produce? Co-operatives, not-for-profit and mutual benefits organizations as well as foundations share common values that color the way they perform and how they manage to do so. Yet, little is known about how the social economy is actually being evaluated, and how evaluation may reinforce or weaken this specificity. This book fills a gap in the literature about the social economy. It seeks to make a critical assessment of the interests to which the social economy of today must cater and for which questions of evaluation appear to be the most telling.
The Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) conducts research into a range of issues surrounding the sector in the UK. Launched in 2008, the Centre has now published a series of papers, some of which are especially relevant for the sector internationally. These include a substantial amount of research on Social Enterprise – exploring how this growing subsector addresses issues such as homelessness, the delivery of housing services, or environmental concerns. A newly released paper also begins to explore the little talked about topic of failure within social enterprises.
Research is also available on ‘below the radar’ organisations – small, community based organisations that often don’t appear on formal registers. The Centre is attempting to map some of this large and diverse subsector, and is exploring the implications this may have for policy makers.
Research teams at the Centre are also focusing on how the third sector can be defined, measured and evaluated. The importance of third sector organisations and the role they play – whether in service delivery, societal development or community well-being – rests on a belief in the positive contribution they make to society. Recently published papers explore the concept of ‘value’ in the sector and ask how we can appropriately measure its impact.
All research papers are available here. (http://www.tsrc.ac.uk/Publications/tabid/500/Default.aspx)
The editors of this volume offer a new way to address the changing reality of the third sector. Policy Initiatives provides information about this complex process involving different fields of practice, different levels of government, and different types of third sector organizations. Contributions from eight countries that have recently enacted policy initiatives towards the third sector include: UK, Canada, Hungary, India, Germany, Ireland, Israel and Japan, and review the current policy, enacting new laws, supervisory mechanisms, and modes of funding.
The thorough analysis in this volume will provide a new understanding of the policy initiatives in the eight countries studied, as well as guiding principles for other countries that may implement such initiatives in the future. The resulting work will give researchers in sociology, social work, third sector research, and international economics a new framework for understanding the Third Sector: its role in society, and its relationships with government, the market, and the citizens of the country.
In recent years, major social forces such as: aging populations, social trends, migration patterns, and the globalization of economies, have reshaped social welfare policies and practices across the globe. Multinational corporations, NGOs, and other international organizations have begun to influence social policy at a national and local level. Among the many ramifications of these changes is that globalizing influences may hinder the ability of individual nation-states to effect policies that are beneficial to them on a local level.
The Welfare State in Post-Industrial Society is divided into two major sections: the first draws from a number of leading social welfare researchers from diverse countries who point to the nation-state as case studies; highlighting how it goes about establishing and revising social welfare provisions. The second portion of the volume then moves to a more global perspective in its analysis and questioning of the impact of globalization on citizenship, aging and marketization.
In Understanding the Social Economy, Jack Quarter, Laurie Mook and Ann Armstrong integrate a wide array of organizations founded upon a social mission – social enterprises, nonprofits, co-operatives, credit unions, and community development associations – under the rubric of the ‘social economy.’ This framework facilitates a comprehensive study of Canada’s social sector, an area often neglected in the business curricula despite the important role that these organizations play in Canada’s economy.
Invaluable for business programs that address issues such as community economic development, co-operatives, and nonprofit studies and management, Understanding the Social Economy presents a unique set of case studies as well as chapters on organizational design and governance, finance and accounting, and accountability. The examples provide much needed context for students and allow for an original and in-depth examination of the relationships between Canada’s social infrastructure and the public and private sectors. With this work, Quarter, Mook and Armstrong illuminate a neglected facet of business studies to further our understanding of the Canadian economy.
This groundbreaking volume reflects pioneering efforts to study the global movement of ideas and institutions, and highlights a wide range of research, paying close attention to the realities of particular situations and to current thinking about general processes.
The essays in this book reflect pioneering efforts to study the global movement of ideas and institutions. They deal with topics of significant contemporary importance: initiatives to address the AIDS epidemic in East Africa; to protect the peoples and ecosystems of the Amazon; to advance the "truth and reconciliation” process in South Africa and in other areas of great conflict; to promote "civil society” in Eastern Europe and Central Asia; to advocate for environmental protection in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and Japan; and to spread Rotary Clubs and encourage "social entrepreneurship” throughout the world.
Have we gone too far in enacting laws, promulgating regulations and announcing policies that threaten freedom of association, either now or ‘in waiting’ for the future?
Regulation on the Voluntary Sector focuses on the legal and political environment for civil society in an era in which counter-terrorism policy and law have challenged civil society and civil liberties in a number of countries. The ways in which counter-terrorism law and policy affect civil society can and do differ dramatically by country and region. Through the lens of developments since September 11th, Mark Sidel provides the first comparative analysis of state responses to voluntary sector activity. Comparing the situations in the UK and the US, as well as Australia, Canada, India and within the European Union, he surveys the increasing efforts to delimit and restrict voluntary sector activities – such as fundraising and grant-making—as well as opposition to them.
In 19th-century Leipzig, Toronto, New York, and Boston, a newly emergent group of industrialists and entrepreneurs entered into competition with older established elite groups for social recognition as well as cultural and political leadership. The competition was played out on the field of philanthropy, with the North American community gathering ideas from Europe about the establishment of cultural and public institutions. For example, to secure financing for their new museum, the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art organized its membership and fundraising on the model of German art museums. The process of cultural borrowing and intercultural transfer shaped urban landscapes with the building of new libraries, museums, and social housing projects. An important contribution to the field of transnational history, this book establishes philanthropy as a prime example of the conversion of economic resources into social and cultural capital.
In the midst of a deepening economic crisis, the more than 75,000 U.S. grantmaking foundations nevertheless increased their giving 2.8 percent in 2008 to an estimated $45.6 billion, according to Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates: Current Outlook (2009 Edition).
Although foundation giving grew modestly in 2008, it did not grow as much as had been expected due to the extreme nature of the current economic downturn. Just under a third (29 percent) of the more than 1,200 foundations that responded to the Foundation Center’s annual "Foundation Giving Forecast Survey” a year ago — before the economic crisis took hold — said they expected to reduce their giving in 2008. But according to findings from the latest survey conducted in early 2009, close to half of the top U.S. funders (47 percent) actually reduced their giving in 2008.
Findings from the Foundation Center’s latest survey suggest that in 2009 foundation giving will decrease in the range of the high single digits to low double digits, even though estimated foundation assets declined a far greater 21.9 percent in 2008. Most respondents (67.1 percent) say they expect to reduce their 2009 giving to at least some extent, with community foundations being most likely to anticipate a decrease. Given the continuing instability in the economy and stock market, it is also likely that foundation giving will decline further in 2010.
Other key estimates for 2008 giving include:
The complete report, part of the annual Foundations Today Series on foundation growth and giving, can be accessed at no charge at the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center’s web site.
This book will be the first comprehensive book on the right to information, which is experiencing increasing global importance.
The right to information (or freedom of information) has emerged as a key component in credible democratic governance and is vital for promoting ‘open governance’ and the accountability of public decision makers. In addition, it strengthens transparency, participation and the rule of law. The right to information is not only fundamental for an open and democratic society, but is a key weapon in the fight against poverty and corruption leading to accelerating human development.
In the contemporary United States, third parties are being relied upon to deliver social services that were once chiefly the responsibility of government. Among the new philanthropic associations that have arisen in this environment are voluntary groups known as giving circles. Their purpose is to bring people together to pool resources and then collectively decide how to distribute them. Giving circles have been seen as the most democratic of philanthropic mechanisms, working to meet social needs and solve community problems, while enhancing the civic education and participation of their members. Angela M. Eikenberry examines this new phenomenon and considers what role voluntary associations and philanthropy can or should play in a democratic society.
International NGOs are increasingly important players within the new aid architecture but their geographic choices remain uncharted territory. This book focuses on patterns of development assistance, mapping, while analyzing and assessing the country choices of the largest international NGOs. Koch’s approach is interdisciplinary and uses qualitative, quantitative and experimental methods to provide a clear insight in the determinants of country choices of international NGOs.
The book aims to discover the country choices of international NGOs, how they are determined and how they could be improved. This work, which uses a dataset created specifically for the research, comes to the conclusion that international NGOs do not target the poorest and most difficult countries. They are shown to be focusing mostly on those countries where their back donors are active. Additionally, it was discovered that they tend to cluster their activities, for example, international NGOs also have their donor darlings and their donor orphans. Their clustering is explained by adapting theories that explain concentration in for-profit actors to the non-profit context.
Persistent societal problems and wealth creation in the Arab region are driving a new generation of actors to commit their resources for the greater public welfare. Widely known as philanthropy, voluntary contributions to causes that serve a public good are a longstanding and important aspect of cultures in the Arab region. What is of particular interest today is the proliferation of ways in which this private giving is being channeled into new institutional forms. In significant ways, some local philanthropy is becoming more strategic in its aims—by which is meant utilizing resources effectively to address the underlying causes of important social problems.
Cooperatives often lead the way with innovations and open new paths abandoned by government, with or without public funding. The evolution of cooperatives is, however, complex, as they have had to grapple with powerful international regulations that sometimes ignore or hamper them. Simultaneously, civil society, largely a victim of a financial capitalism that produces social exclusion, economic inequality and environmental disasters, expects alternative solutions from the social economy and particularly from the cooperative movement.
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