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Imaginaries of community: Philanthropy and community development in India

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Business Ethics
DateAccepted/In press - 17 Feb 2021
Original languageEnglish


Community development, or the socio-economic transformations of local communities, has been a significant focus of organizational ethics. As part of development, community development programmes—whether led by state, civil society, or businesses—are animated by modernization. Building on extant criticisms of development as modernization, I present an ethics of modernization in this article, which involved the production of a new moral order as part of which communities were imagined in particular ways. Drawing on a periodization of history of philanthropy of the Tata Group (India’s leading multinational conglomerate) from the 1860s onwards, I outline the four stages involved in the production of this new moral order as part of India’s development. The shifts in imaginaries of community, I conclude, were justified and legitimized as part of the wider nation-building efforts.

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