PhD Candidate Martin Lukk in collaboration with Joanne Soares and Professor Erik Schneiderhan on “Worthy? Crowdfunding the Canadian Health Care and Education Sectors”

Martin LukkPh.D. student Martin Lukk, in collaboration with Joanne Soares and Professor Erik Schneiderhan has published an article, entitled, “Worthy? Crowdfunding the Canadian Health Care and Education Sectors” in Canadian Review of Sociology. The article discusses crowdfunding and asks the question of why Canadians turn to health care and education crowdfunding and how equitably funds are raised using this method. They argue that health care and education crowdfunding is a response to the shortcomings of the Canadian welfare state provision.

Martin Lukk’s research investigates political culture, nationalism, inequality and stratification, and welfare states. Joanne Soares is currently working to obtain her Master of Public Policy at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of ArtsErik Schneiderhan. Professor Erik Schneiderhan is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair within the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus. He primarily specializes in political sociology, with a particular focus on pragmatist social theory.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available here.

Lukk, Martin, Erik Schneiderhan, and Joanne Soares. 2018. “Worthy? Crowdfunding the Canadian Health Care and Education Sectors.” Canadian Review of Sociology 55(3): 404-24.

Crowdfunding, the practice of asking for money from others using the Internet, is a major private means through which Canadians are funding their health care and education. Crowdfunding has proliferated in Canada during the 2010s and continues to grow, approaching the revenues of Canada’s major traditional charities. Proponents describe it as an empowering practice from which anyone can benefit. If its gains are inequitably distributed, however, increasing reliance on this private funding mechanism, especially in core areas of welfare state provision, can further exacerbate inequalities of opportunity and income. This study asks why Canadians turn to health care and education crowdfunding and how equitably funds are raised using this novel method. Based on a mixed methods analysis of 319 campaigns conducted on two prominent crowdfunding platforms between 2012 and 2014, we find that crowdfunding users’ needs frequently correspond to known gaps in the contemporary social safety net, including in the area of cancer care, and that campaigns for older and visible minority Canadians face a disadvantage. We argue that health care and education crowdfunding is a response to the shortcomings of Canadian welfare state provision, but one that reproduces offline inequalities with potentially perilous consequences for democratic life and individual suffering.