The Moral Neoliberal: Welfare and Citizenship in Italy by Andrea MuehlebachThe Moral Neoliberal: Welfare and Citizenship in Italy by Andrea Muehlebach

The Moral Neoliberal: Welfare and Citizenship in Italy

byAndrea Muehlebach

Paperback | June 12, 2012

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Morality is often imagined to be at odds with capitalism and its focus on the bottom line, but in The Moral Neoliberal morality is shown as the opposite: an indispensible tool for capitalist transformation. Set within the shifting landscape of neoliberal welfare reform in the Lombardy region of Italy, Andrea Muehlebach tracks the phenomenal rise of voluntarism in the wake of the state’s withdrawal of social service programs. Using anthropological tools, she shows how socialist volunteers are interpreting their unwaged labor as an expression of social solidarity, with Catholic volunteers thinking of theirs as an expression of charity and love. Such interpretations pave the way for a mass mobilization of an ethical citizenry that is put to work by the state.
Visiting several sites across the region, from Milanese high schools to the offices of state social workers to the homes of the needy, Muehlebach mounts a powerful argument that the neoliberal state nurtures selflessness in order to cement some of its most controversial reforms. At the same time, she also shows how the insertion of such an anticapitalist narrative into the heart of neoliberalization can have unintended consequences. 
Andrea Muehlebach is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto. 
Title:The Moral Neoliberal: Welfare and Citizenship in ItalyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:June 12, 2012Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226545407

ISBN - 13:9780226545400

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Table of Contents


Part I
Chapter 1: An Opulence of Virtue
 Death of a King
 Markets and Morals
 An Opulence of Virtue

Chapter 2: Ethical Citizenship
 A Crisis of Loneliness
 Who Cares?
 Ethical Citizenship
 The Moral Neoliberal

Part II
Chapter 3: Consecrations: From Welfare State to Welfare Community
 The Oath
 Welfare Community
 Sacred Social
 Sacralizing “Activity”
 A Temple of Humanity
 The Ethical State
 Social Capitalism
 The Catholicization of Neoliberalism

Part III
Chapter 4: The Production of Compassion
 A Heartfelt Citizenship
 The Production of Dispassion
 The Production of Compassion 1: The Public Management of Virtue
 The Production of Compassion 2: Education of Desire
 The Production of Compassion 3: Arts of Suffering, Feeling, Listening
 The Production of Compassion 4: Empowerment
 Privatizing the Public Sphere

Chapter 5: An Age Full of Virtue
 Super Seniors
 An Age Full of Virtue
 Labor, Life Cycle, and Generational Contract
 Learning to Labor, or, Citizenship as Work
 Care of the Self
 A New Generational Contract

Chapter 6: Aftereffects of Utopian Practice
 The Question of Solidarity
 Lavoro or Impegno? Work or Commitment?
 Passions at Work
 Aftereffects of Utopian Practice
 From Politics to Ethics
 From Ethics to Politics; or, the Social Life of Social Citizenship

Chapter 7: The Private Face of Privatization
 Enemy in the House
 The Professor and the Angel
 Ethical Citizenship as Relational Labor
 The Ethics of Relational Labor
 Appearing in Public
 Wounding and Healing


Editorial Reviews

“In this astute ethnography of voluntarism in a working-class town in the de-industrialized periphery of Milan, Andrea Muehlebach demonstrates convincingly that contemporary neoliberal reforms produce not only rational, instrumental subjects but simultaneously compassionate, ethical citizens with deep moral commitments. Her acute and nuanced analysis of the pedagogical techniques employed in volunteer training classes and the quotidian practices and discourses of volunteers, shows how unremunerated voluntary labor, construed as intimate, compassionate acts of gifting outside the realm of commodified market exchange, is cultivated and managed by legal regimes and administrative policies just as the securities of the modern Italian welfare state are being dismantled.”