Journal article

Geneva's philanthropists around 1900: a field made of distinctive but interconnected social groups

This article analyses the social profile of Geneva's philanthropists around 1900. It shows that, contrary to what the literature on philanthropy argues, philanthropists belonged to varied social groups defined by diverse forms of capital (economic, social and cultural) and were involved in philanthropic activities related to their social status. Together, those philanthropists formed a social field. They were connected to each other and even needed to collaborate on specific issues. The article argues that interconnections between actors reinforced their social position. By examining this field through both quantitative and qualitative methods, the article highlights relationships and ties between actors and shows how they collaborated on the basis of commonly held principles.


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