Social Sciences: Sociology, Social Policy, Criminology & Anthropology

How new is philanthropy? Listen to Professor Mohan on Radio 4

20 January 2012


In final programme of this Radio 4 series on British philanthropy, contrasts of the diminishing role that philanthropy played during the middle decades of the twentieth century with the increasing calls that are being made upon it today are explored.

As part of the programme, Professor of Social Policy John Mohan takes part in the debate and the questions is posed on how contemporary philanthropists might contribute to the 'Big Society'.


The programme arises from work being carried out on the distribution of charitable resources funded by the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy – in particular, an investigation of the idea of “charity deserts” or, less colloquially, the concept of “philanthropic insufficiency”.
The collaboraration that Professor Mohan is involved in looks at contemporary and historical patterns of the distribution of charitable funds, and suggests they are often found in inverse relationship to patterns of need.

This is relevant to current policy debates which envisage that the voluntary sector will be able to play a greater role in responding to social needs. As it says below: there is an apparently intractable problem of the mismatch between philanthropic giving and actual social need in today's cash-strapped Britain.


The programme, first broadcast at Christmas 2011, is available to listen here

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