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The chapter starts by introducing the book’s two key themes: that philanthropy has been criticised as much as it has been praised, and that the meaning attached to the word has been in constant flux. It was only in the later twentieth century that a monetised definition took precedence over others. After outlining the methodology with its focus on usage of the words ‘philanthropy’ and ‘philanthropist’, the chapter outlines the ways they have changed over time, linking these changes to wider forces, chiefly the Enlightenment, Romanticism, evangelicalism and capitalism, and arguing that philanthropy can be understood only through its relationship with poverty and the Poor Laws, slavery and anti-slavery, political radicalism, mutualism, national identity, voluntary societies and volunteering, citizenship and the welfare state. Short chapter descriptions form a conclusion.

in The reputation of philanthropy since 1750

Discussing the background of the gay rights movement in Ireland, this chapter opens on 24 July 1975, when David Norris, Chairman of the first national gay rights organisation, appeared on national television to discuss why gay people should have equality. This chapter describes how Ireland was then the last remaining member of the European Economic Community to retain criminal penalties against male homosexual activity.

in The history of marriage equality in Ireland

John Howard, the prison reformer, was the first person to be consistently described as a ‘philanthropist’. He visited prisons throughout Britain and Europe, counting the steps down to ‘dungeons’, lambasting the sins of gaolers. In doing so he put his own life constantly at risk as gaol fever was endemic. The chapter centres on a proposal in 1786 to collect funds for a statue to Howard, even though the proposers knew that Howard would disapprove. From this point on philanthropy became a public, not simply a private, virtue. The aristocracy, William Pitt the prime minister, William Wilberforce and many other famous names contributed to the appeal for funds. Those raising money congratulated themselves on their own philanthropy: it was an expression of their own good feelings and above that of the nation. Howard put a stop to the proposal, but on his death in 1790 it was revived and in 1796 his statue, the first in the body of St Paul’s Cathedral, was unveiled. Howard was described as ‘the philanthropist’, his ‘god-like’ life celebrated. For a century future philanthropists were measured against Howard and found wanting. He himself counted the miles he travelled, not the considerable amount of money he gave.

in The reputation of philanthropy since 1750
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Collective action in rural settlements

Access to resources and conflicts over resources provide many of the contexts for collective action by local groups. This chapter investigates the evidence for collaboration in basic agricultural tasks and other economic activities, as well as that for more political forms of cooperation, for instance in jointly building churches, running local courts, attesting land transactions; and it looks at the evidence for the role of conflict in defining discrete groups. Our focus examines how collective action brought together people of widely varying wealth, social standing and even different legal status. The chapter also considers the labels people used of themselves and those that others used of them, as well as attitudes to outsiders, such as non-residents, people culturally marked as foreign, and those excluded from the social group for lack of conformity or otherwise, as well as the conscious identification of some within the group, such as Jews, as 'other'.

in Neighbours and strangers
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A new direction

An overview of the formation of one of the main campaign groups seeking marriage for same-sex couples: Marriage Equality. The strategy of this group was to improve LGBT visibility and justify why same-sex couples could only achieve equality through access to civil marriage. Its second strategy was political engagement. This was an intrinsic aspect to ensure that those in positions of political power would implement the changes required to introduce marriage equality.

in The history of marriage equality in Ireland

Shortly after civil partnerships came into effect the coalition government collapsed. This chapter outlines how the general election of 2011 helped progress the campaign for marriage equality. This was a time ripe for political reform. Each of the main political parties recognised a need for constitutional change which was reflected in their election manifestos.

in The history of marriage equality in Ireland

In this period philanthropy stood highest in esteem. The Times moderated its stance. Newspapers praised Britain as a philanthropic nation. People wrote of their government as philanthropic in its foreign policy. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert devoted time and resources to much-praised philanthropy. But there were worries. The Social Science Association, with which philanthropy was at first closely aligned, distanced itself from it and became the voice for social reform. The Charity Organisation Society promoted scientific charity; its secretary, C. S. Loch, did not disguise his mistrust of philanthropy. Criticism was still unrelenting: ‘practical philanthropy’ was admired, but too much of it, according to the critics, was ‘spurious’ or ‘pseudo’. In 5 per cent philanthropy there was an attempt to help resolve housing problems but it came to be seen as a failure. Philanthropy was associated with the multiplicity of voluntary organisations to help the needy but they had spawned a body of ‘professional philanthropists’, who ran these organisations and were subjected to ridicule and dislike. Effeminacy became even more linked to philanthropy. In the late 1860s and early 1870s, three books by the era’s most eminent novelists had philanthropy directly in their sights: Middlemarch, The Moonstone and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

in The reputation of philanthropy since 1750
Local societies in early medieval Europe

This is an exploration of social cohesion in rural settlements in western Europe in the period 700–1050 CE, and of the extent to which settlements, or districts, constituted units of social organisation. It focuses on the interactions, interconnections and networks of people who lived side by side – neighbours. Drawing evidence from most of the current western European countries, the book plots and interrogates the very different practices of this wide range of regions in a systematically comparative framework, offering a new approach to well-known problems of the early Middle Ages by bringing together expertise from different national traditions. It examines how people in the localities of the early medieval West worked together in pursuit of shared goals beyond the level of the household, and how (and whether) they formed their own groups through that collective action. It considers the variety of local responses to the supra-local agents of landlords and rulers and the impact, such as it was, of those agents on the small-scale residential group. It also assesses the impact on local societies of the values, instructions and demands of the wider literate world of Christianity, as delivered by local priests.

Searching for the local

There is no evidence that the residential group was the only group to which local people belonged. The locality, understood as a zone of the order of 10 km diameter, with a multiplicity of settlements, was a meaningful unit of operation, although the scale of association in northern Iberia appears to have been wider. Some members of some settlements engaged in collective agricultural practices, and some households joined together to take legal action, but there is no reason to suppose that all members of any one settlement regularly did so. There is little awareness of belonging to a group, although the integration of immigrants and the exclusion of individuals are well evidenced. There cannot have been a shared view of social cohesion in every settlement or every locality. The same Christian message was heard by every flock, meaning that the sphere of responsibility of the local priest defined a community of a kind, although some people clearly stole from their neighbours, as others fought or assaulted or raped them. The number of officers within range, and the frequency of their visits, must have made a difference to the lives of peasant farmers: so, life in a farming settlement in northern Iberia must have been free from the micro-management of those in the Carolingian Empire.

in Neighbours and strangers

This chapter focuses on the first legal case to pursue recognition of a same-sex marriage. The case was launched by Irish citizens Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan, who were married in British Columbia after the legislation was implemented there. This section details how this case moved from a request to the Revenue Commissioners to be assessed as a married couple to a High Court case.

in The history of marriage equality in Ireland