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Civic Gifts – Voluntarism and the Making of the American Nation-State - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Civic Gifts: Voluntarism and the Making of the American Nation-State

Elisabeth S. Clemens


Civic Gifts traces how practices of reciprocity and organized mass benevolence—that is, philanthropy—have contributed to the development of novel forms of national solidarity and impressive governing capacities in the United States, contributing even to a famously anti-statist political culture. Sociologist Elisabeth Clemens paints a picture of the US, whether as nation or as state, as a puzzle. How, she asks, did a sense of shared nationhood develop despite the linguistic, religious, and ethnic differences among the settlers? How did a global power emerge from an often anti-statist political ... More

Keywords: nation-state building, voluntarism, gift, reciprocity, American Red Cross, nonprofit organization, philanthropy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780226559360
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226670973.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Elisabeth S. Clemens, author
University of Chicago