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Opening and Closing a Dispensary in Shan-Yin County: Some Thoughts about Charitable Associations, Organizations, and Institutions in Late Ming China

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image of Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

During the seventeenth century Chinese local elites sponsored charitable activities more visibly and vocally than ever before. One small outcome of the heightened interest in doing good was a dispensary that wealthy residents of Shan-yin county operated for the poor. Using materials relating to the dispensary, this article explores differences between loose associations, formal organizations, and lasting institutions. To understand voluntary cooperation among the philanthropists it considers several ingredients other than the needs of the poor and the compassion of the rich; these include the type of leadership and a proclivity among local elites of this period to form diverse associations.

Affiliations: 1: Harvard University

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/content/journals/10.1163/1568520952600452
1995-01-01
2017-02-26

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