Accepted Paper:

Everyday neoliberalism in philanthropy and private social investment: new modes of governance  


Patricia Silva (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses everyday neoliberalism in transnational philanthropy and private social investment. It analyses how Brazilian and U.S. elites articulate in the field and architecture public policies and new modes of governance, claiming on individual responsibility and risk taking.

Paper long abstract:

After the so-called global financial crisis, North American scholars and "social experts" started publishing works about a new approach to philanthropy: philanthrocapitalism. Within this framework, a wide range of practices and discourses emerge such as new philanthropy, venture philanthropy, effective altruism, and strategic philanthropy, among others. This paper addresses how transnational elites articulate in this field, a blurred area where categories such as governments, the private sector and the third sector intertwine, playing a key role in the architecture of public policies and new modes of governance, claiming on individual responsibility and risk taking. Anthropologist Bill Maurer evens asks if we might be experiencing the rise of a modern feudalism with the privatization of state functions. Having neoliberalism as a starting point to the analysis, I identified and analyzed the new philanthropy and private social investment in Brazil and in the United States. Brazilian experts and philanthropists consider the latter as the benchmark of philanthropy and volunteerism in the world and it was possible to follow these flows of knowledge building and exchanges between elites of both countries. I conducted this research through observant participation, in depth interviews and the attendance of a massive online open course on strategic philanthropy. Whereas in Brazil some propose what is being called the "sector 2.5", in the United States scholars propose the fourth sector, or a "for benefit sector" in place of the "for profit model". These analyses resulted in the notions of Philanthrocapitalism in the U.S. and Philanthroestatism in Brazil.

Panel RM-SPK09
Everyday neoliberalism