Philanthropy in Brazil and the UK: Wealth, Responsibility and the Pursuit of Social Change by Economic Elites

Sklair Correa, Jessica. 2017. Philanthropy in Brazil and the UK: Wealth, Responsibility and the Pursuit of Social Change by Economic Elites. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Philanthropy in Brazil and the UK: Wealth, Responsibility and the Pursuit of Social Change by Economic Elites)
ANT_redactedthesis_SklairCorreaJ_2017.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (2MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This thesis explores the philanthropy of economic elites in Brazil and the UK, positing their practice as part of a global elite philanthropic project. It argues that this project serves to further the aims of global capitalism, while attempting to mitigate the negative effects of capitalism’s fallout. Although the historical development of elite philanthropy in Brazil and the UK has been markedly different, accounting for technical differences in contemporary practice in these countries, recent decades have seen attempts to build an institutionalised philanthropic sector in Brazil based on British (and American) models. Today, the conceptual and ideological framework for the design of philanthropy in both countries is remarkably similar. In ethnographic enquiry into this common project, practices under the banners of ‘philanthrocapitalism’ and ‘strategic philanthropy’ emerge as the expression of deeply held ideologies of social change. These relate to the transposition of corporate strategies to philanthropy, to market-based solutions to social problems, and to attempts to eradicate poverty via better incorporation of the poor into existing economic structures. This enquiry, however, reveals how other aspects of elite experience also become entangled in the philanthropic project. In Brazil and the UK, elites use philanthropy to forge positive identities of wealth, and as a tool for managing inheritance. Among Brazilian family businesses, historical family narratives of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility aid business succession processes, in attempts to keep family firms – and family capital – intact with the passing of time. Finally, this thesis explores the work of philanthropic intermediaries, and the central role played by philanthropy advising and donor education programmes in shaping and disseminating philanthropic trends. Ethnography among intermediaries, however, reveals myriad ambiguities in their work. These serve to highlight elite philanthropy’s inability to confront the structures of inequality inherent to global capitalism, and the corresponding limits to its own project.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

Additional Information:

Redacted version of thesis with copyright material removed


Philanthropy, Elites, Corporate Social Responsibility, Brazil, UK

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



30 June 2017

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

13 Jul 2017 08:17

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 14:01


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)