Empathy Beyond Borders: How Civic Organizations Motivate Transnational Engagement

133 Sparks Please click here to RSVP Empathy Beyond Borders: How Civic Organizations Motivate Transnational Engagement By Gary Adler
When Mar 14, 2018
from 01:30 PM to 02:30 PM
Where 133 Sparks
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Empathy Beyond Borders: How Civic Organizations Motivate Transnational Engagement

By Gary Adler
WHAT: Rock Ethics Institute Colloquium
WHEN: Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 1:30 - 2:30pm
WHERE: 133 Sparks


Empathy Beyond Borders: How Civic Organizations Motivate Transnational Engagement

By Gary Adler

 
Civic organizations in the United States, from colleges to churches, are frequent supporters of global  civic engagement. Whether through the rapidly expanding forms of short-term study abroad, volunteer tourism, service trips, or medical missions, this new era of engagement is characterized by personal interactions, partnership ideals, and pragmatic involvement in foreign communities. How do U.S.-based civic organizations motivate this transnational civic concern? I argue that civic organizations increasingly construe their motivational work through the lens of empathy, instead of charity or solidarity, using distinct empathy tactics to produce emotional and moral interest. I use ethnographic and interview data from a study of a civic organization at the U.S.-Mexico border that works to “raise awareness and inspire action” about undocumented immigration. I discuss how this research reveals a moral-emotional economy of global civil society, provides a way to understand the complex motivational activity of non-profit organizations, and challenges some assumptions of cosmopolitanism theory.