Zakariás Ildikó; Feischmidt Margit (2020): Producing the nation through philanthropy: Legitimising coethnic and prorefugee civic action in Hungary

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This paper explores interconnections between nationhood and philanthropy, namely, how philanthropy works as a domain of meaningful social practice framed by national ideologies and how interpretations born in the institutional contexts of philanthropy may play a central role in making sense of the nation. We observe how various divisions inherent in philanthropic practices—between helpers and the helped and between those who take part in helping as opposed to those who do not—become reflected in concepts of nationhood shaped by these activities. The study of two cases—first, the philanthropic actions of Hungarian citizens towards Hungarian minority communities in Ukraine and Romania, and second, humanitarian volunteer initiatives aimed at supporting refugees during the summer of 2015 in Hungary—makes it possible to understand how philanthropic practices become a site for reproducing competing definitions of nationhood.