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Gramsci 'makes a difference': volunteering, neoliberal ‘common sense’ and the Sustainable Development Goals

Journal Article


Abstract


  • In this paper we subject volunteering within the neoliberal paradigm to a

    Gramscian analysis. We argue that the rendering of volunteering as a civic good

    forms part of the modern neoliberal state’s fashioning of consent for capitalist

    rule. Gramsci’s concept of the ‘integral state’ incorporates antagonisms within

    civil society as it attempts to demonstrate moral and intellectual guidance

    to construct ongoing consent for capitalist rule. A Gramscian analysis of

    volunteering reveals that, under neoliberalism, two different and competing

    historical trajectories of volunteering have been conf lated into one model of

    low-cost or unpaid labour that supplements the efforts of state and market,

    but which does not seek to disrupt either. In doing so, the radical tradition of

    volunteering, with its potential for social transformation, has been negated

    as a new common sense understanding of volunteering has emerged that is

    essentially apolitical, and which does not question fundamental structural

    aspects of global inequality. This trend is especially evident in the United

    Nations Sustainable Development Goals, where the language of community

    empowerment, usually found in the radical volunteering tradition, has been

    harnessed to assist the state and private sectors to restructure and reform, but

    still continue, capitalism.

Publication Date


  • 2019

Citation


  • Hawksley, C. & Georgeou, N. (2019). Gramsci 'makes a difference': volunteering, neoliberal ‘common sense’ and the Sustainable Development Goals. Third Sector Review, 25 (2), 27-56.

Number Of Pages


  • 29

Start Page


  • 27

End Page


  • 56

Volume


  • 25

Issue


  • 2

Place Of Publication


  • Australia

Abstract


  • In this paper we subject volunteering within the neoliberal paradigm to a

    Gramscian analysis. We argue that the rendering of volunteering as a civic good

    forms part of the modern neoliberal state’s fashioning of consent for capitalist

    rule. Gramsci’s concept of the ‘integral state’ incorporates antagonisms within

    civil society as it attempts to demonstrate moral and intellectual guidance

    to construct ongoing consent for capitalist rule. A Gramscian analysis of

    volunteering reveals that, under neoliberalism, two different and competing

    historical trajectories of volunteering have been conf lated into one model of

    low-cost or unpaid labour that supplements the efforts of state and market,

    but which does not seek to disrupt either. In doing so, the radical tradition of

    volunteering, with its potential for social transformation, has been negated

    as a new common sense understanding of volunteering has emerged that is

    essentially apolitical, and which does not question fundamental structural

    aspects of global inequality. This trend is especially evident in the United

    Nations Sustainable Development Goals, where the language of community

    empowerment, usually found in the radical volunteering tradition, has been

    harnessed to assist the state and private sectors to restructure and reform, but

    still continue, capitalism.

Publication Date


  • 2019

Citation


  • Hawksley, C. & Georgeou, N. (2019). Gramsci 'makes a difference': volunteering, neoliberal ‘common sense’ and the Sustainable Development Goals. Third Sector Review, 25 (2), 27-56.

Number Of Pages


  • 29

Start Page


  • 27

End Page


  • 56

Volume


  • 25

Issue


  • 2

Place Of Publication


  • Australia