Consecrations: From Welfare State to Welfare Community

Andrea Muehlebach

in The Moral Neoliberal

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226545394
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226545417 | DOI:
Consecrations: From Welfare State to Welfare Community

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This chapter shows that the public production of ethical citizens relies on the sacralization of the social realm, at the center of which stands the figure of the freely laboring citizen volunteer. This social realm is in contrast with the state and the market in that many Italians—scholars, policy makers, politicians, ordinary citizens—endow it with the capacity to transcend social particularism and to encompass a fractured citizenry. Drawing on legal reforms, media texts, public statements made by politicians and policy makers, conference pamphlets, and policy papers, the chapter explores the public contrastive work that goes into coding the social as intrinsically moral. It also shows that the rise of the public reification is accompanied by the decline of another—that of the putatively withdrawing, or, as policy makers in Lombardy sometimes prefer to call it, “externalizing” state. The making of the moral neoliberal welfare community relies on the carving out, resignification, and reification of these realms, such that they can be drawn back together into a fantasy of organically linked, contractually bound “partners” equally invested in and responsible for the common good.

Keywords: welfare state; welfare community; ethical citizens; social realm; market; legal reform

Chapter.  19115 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Population and Demography

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