Aftereffects of Utopian Practice

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:
Aftereffects of Utopian Practice

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This chapter explores the ways in which ethical citizenship operates as a depoliticizing tool while simultaneously opening up new political possibilities. Almost all the volunteers the author spoke to tie their current sense of belonging and self-worth to past leftist solidaristic practice. The promise entailed in the welfare community—that of a moral community laboring outside the purview of commodified market relations—resonated hugely with people like Nullo and Mirella, for whom voluntarism was a paradigmatic anticapitalist act. At the same time, it is precisely these unalienated acts of labor, these acts of compassion, care, and solidarity, which were being put to work in the welfare community. The neoliberal project—ideologically omnivorous when it comes to Catholic doctrine—also converges with and draws upon leftist ethical practice. The chapter thus shows how ethical citizenship allows for leftist norms and practices to become simultaneously done and undone.

Keywords: utopia; ethical citizenship; Catholic doctrine; ethical practice; leftist norms; market relations; compassion

Chapter.  14849 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Population and Demography

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