The meaningfulness of charitable giving is largely owed to the imaginary conceptions that underpin this form of giving. Building on Taylor's notion of “social imaginary” and Godelier's work on “gift imaginary,” we theorize the imaginary of charitable giving. Through a combination of qualitative methods the charitable gift imaginary and its role in givers' meaning making are explored in a specific socio-cultural context. The theoretical foundation and the generated data enable us to map the imaginary of charitable giving across four distinct clusters and theorize meaning – making as navigation across relatively stable assemblages of conceptions of poverty, donors, end-recipients and charitable giving. These assemblages are suggested to form a multifaceted imaginary that is both cultural (shared) and personal (individually performed).
Consumption, Markets and Culture, 2012, Vol 15, Issue 4, p. 358-373
charitable giving, imaginary, meaning, philanthropy, distant other