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Aaron Horvath

Aaron Horvath
A.B., Princeton University, 2010


I'm a PhD candidate in the Stanford University Department of Sociology and affiliated scholar with the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS)

My research centers on how abstract ideals—democracy, accountability, efficiency—manifest concretely in organizational forms and practices and how organizations both produce and resolve democratic inequalities.

Employing a variety of research methods (historical, quantitative, and qualitative), my work explores: (1) How the advent of administrative science in US government transformed the relationship between the state and the people, drew new lines of inclusion and exclusion, and changed how we understand and practice democracy; (2) How mega-wealthy philanthropists and their organizations—once viewed as “repugnant to the whole idea of democratic society”—came to be seen as legitimate underwriters of public provision and as authoritative figures in political agenda-setting. (3) How broad cultural ideals of accountability and efficiency shape how nonprofit organizations understand their civic purpose, engage with the public, and respond to communities’ needs.

See my website (linked above) for more on publications, ongoing independent and collaborative research projects, press coverage, and pieces I've written for broader audiences.

Selected Publications

Related News

May 20 2020 | Boston Review
How Civic Organizations Are Helping to Fight COVID-19 Nonprofits have proven to be critical links in the nation’s public health infrastructure, but even those with mandates unrelated to health and poverty relief are turning out to be integral to their communities’ survival.