Journal of Congemporary Ethnography
Activists and volunteers in the United States face the dilemma of having to negotiate the ideals of American individualism with their own acts of compassion. In this article, I consider how activists and volunteers socially construct compassion. Data from ethnographic research in the breast cancer and antirape movements are analyzed. The processes through which compassion is constructed are revealed in participants’ actions and in their identities. It is through their actions (or “doing good”) and their perceptions and presentations of themselves (“being good”) that participants construct compassion as a gendered phenomenon. Together, the processes of doing good and being good raise questions about the extent to which participants’ acts of compassion are or can be transformative in a way that promotes the social change which activists and volunteers seek.
Blackstone, Amy. 2009. "Doing Good, Being Good, and the Social Construction of Compassion." Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, February 2009; vol. 38, 1: pp. 85-116. DOI: 10.1177/0891241607310864
(c) Sage Publications. Link to original article: http://jce.sagepub.com.prxy4.ursus.maine.edu/content/38/1/85.abstract
post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing with all author corrections and edits)