a programme of the methodical destruction of collectives

Bourdieu (1998) explains that under globalisation, neoliberalism orients the economic choices of those who dominate economic relationships; it thus adds its own symbolic force to these relations of forces. In the name of a scientific programme converted into a plan of political action – neoliberalism — an immense political project is under way, although the status of the project as such is denied because it appears to be purely negative. This project aims to create the conditions under which the neoliberal ‘theory’ can be realized and can function: a programme of the methodical destruction of collectives.


Social Capital is the foundation of human social life. It is a new civic perspective that is at odds with the type of identity politics that classifies along the lines of race, ethnicity, national origin, and gender. Rights and responsibilities are now to inhere in citizens, not in groups. A new citizenship develops a middle ground – a kind of ‘shadow state’ (cf. Smith & Lipsky, 1993) between the domains of government coercion and market competition. A key attraction of social capital is in the warm glow produced by the term ‘community’, for it is a brave person who would contest the desirability of a term which speaks of belonging, locality, social cohesion and cooperation. However while it is easy to be broadly supportive of a communitarian vision, there remains a danger that community can be used ideologically as the emphasis on solidarity serves to mask the citizen’s loss of liberty and reduced chances of equality. ‘True’ community seems to have no referent in the real world. Peters & Marshall (1996: 37- 39) suggest that where the radical view (Marxist) looks to the future to establish true community, the conservative view locates community in the cherished past. They identify various conceptions of community, such as the face to face group, pockets of kinship or proximity, a ‘just’ distribution of resources, the antithesis of the market, a collection of social work agencies, a set of altruistic relationships, as a cost saving mechanism for rationing scarce resources, and finally as a way of overcoming the crisis of the welfare state. Bellah’s definition of a community as “a group of people who are socially interdependent, who participate together in discussion and decision-making, and who share certain practices that both define the community and are nurtured by it”, is cited by Smith & Lipski (1993:22), as they identify three important qualities of community important to the nonprofit analysis. First, a community is self identifying with members belonging if they think of themselves as members. Second, a community is fuelled by voluntary action. Third, communities are important because they are about our most deeply held values. Nonprofit service organisations, in this definition, are “tangible, significant manifestations of community”


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