Year of Entry: 2010
MA (2009) University of Chicago
BA (2005) Smith College
Area of Interest:
Organizations; Development; Social Movements; Political Sociology
Contested Illnesses Research Group
Cogut Center for the Humanities
Title: Bureaucratized morality, institutional durability: organizationally mediated idealism in the Peace Corps.
Committee: Mark C. Suchman (Chair), Nitsan Chorev, Patrick Heller, Josh Pacewictz
ABOUT THE DISSERTATION
My dissertation is an organizational take on the question of public altruism; I examine the Peace Corps, a voluntary international development organization run by the US government. The project is situated in order to look at the ways in which altruism—the desire to "change the world"—interacts with bureaucratic routinization within formal organizations. It tries to parse what happens when individuals with lofty social ideals enter an organization that may be structurally inconsistent with those ideals (in other words, what happens when altruism interacts with "red tape"). The Peace Corps, like many other social organizations, is a necessary compromise between the social and altruistic ideals of its participants and the mundane and sometimes problematic realities of being a sustainable organization. My research is intended to help us understand how bureaucratic organizations (through which much, if not all, social and philanthropic commitment in the United States is channeled) mediate people's social commitment. In other words: what do the organizations do to—and for—the idealists?