Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

First Advisor

Sheldon Solomon

Second Advisor

Danielle Poe


While an overly detached perspective dominates contemporary discourse on development and other public projects, an alternative approach, built on a personal perspective, can enrich an organization’s work. Organizations can bring elements of a personal perspective into the public realm, employing the virtues of relational morality and restoring the possibility for meaningful action. Narrative accounts from many people who have experienced The Tandana Foundation’s work show how one organization has brought a personal approach to collective work, generating positive results. While emphasizing the personal aspects is important to counterbalance the dominance of a detached perspective, it is important to bring elements of both perspectives together in order to steer between the converse excesses of instrumentalism or alienation and pettiness or parochialism. As organizations like The Tandana Foundation, as well as other NGOs, institutions, and businesses, apply a personal vocabulary to public life, they reclaim space for agency and meaningful action.