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Modalities of agency in a corporate volunteering program : cultivating a resource of neoliberal governmentality

(2019) ETHNOGRAPHY. 20(2). p.205-226
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Abstract
Recent scholarly discussions on agency relate the concept to privilege, affect and subject formation, while challenging its equation with resistance to structural limitations. This article utilizes these discussions in a new terrain of ethnographic exploration: the engagement of corporate volunteers with underprivileged youth, coordinated by a transnational nonprofit that relies on corporate sponsorship. Based on a multi-sited ethnographic study that followed these activities in the US, Belgium and Israel, the article describes how corporate volunteers and coordinators projected an individualized and optimistic agency onto the beneficiaries of their activity, while perceiving their own agency as limited despite their privileged position. The simultaneous use of these two contradictory notions of agency governs employees' engagement at work and their ideological adherence to corporate capitalism, making 'agency' a resource of neoliberal governmentality. These ethnographic insights contribute to explaining why corporations are increasingly interested in promoting volunteering as a salient Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.
Keywords
volunteering, corporate volunteering, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), corporations, NGOs, agency, governmentality, neoliberalism, multi-sited ethnography, EDUCATION, PROMISE, YOUTH

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MLA
Shachar, Itamar Y., and Lesley Hustinx. “Modalities of Agency in a Corporate Volunteering Program : Cultivating a Resource of Neoliberal Governmentality.” ETHNOGRAPHY, vol. 20, no. 2, SAGE, 2019, pp. 205–26.
APA
Shachar, I. Y., & Hustinx, L. (2019). Modalities of agency in a corporate volunteering program : cultivating a resource of neoliberal governmentality. ETHNOGRAPHY, 20(2), 205–226.
Chicago author-date
Shachar, Itamar Y, and Lesley Hustinx. 2019. “Modalities of Agency in a Corporate Volunteering Program : Cultivating a Resource of Neoliberal Governmentality.” ETHNOGRAPHY 20 (2): 205–26.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Shachar, Itamar Y, and Lesley Hustinx. 2019. “Modalities of Agency in a Corporate Volunteering Program : Cultivating a Resource of Neoliberal Governmentality.” ETHNOGRAPHY 20 (2): 205–226.
Vancouver
1.
Shachar IY, Hustinx L. Modalities of agency in a corporate volunteering program : cultivating a resource of neoliberal governmentality. ETHNOGRAPHY. 2019;20(2):205–26.
IEEE
[1]
I. Y. Shachar and L. Hustinx, “Modalities of agency in a corporate volunteering program : cultivating a resource of neoliberal governmentality,” ETHNOGRAPHY, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 205–226, 2019.
@article{8550904,
  abstract     = {Recent scholarly discussions on agency relate the concept to privilege, affect and subject formation, while challenging its equation with resistance to structural limitations. This article utilizes these discussions in a new terrain of ethnographic exploration: the engagement of corporate volunteers with underprivileged youth, coordinated by a transnational nonprofit that relies on corporate sponsorship. Based on a multi-sited ethnographic study that followed these activities in the US, Belgium and Israel, the article describes how corporate volunteers and coordinators projected an individualized and optimistic agency onto the beneficiaries of their activity, while perceiving their own agency as limited despite their privileged position. The simultaneous use of these two contradictory notions of agency governs employees' engagement at work and their ideological adherence to corporate capitalism, making 'agency' a resource of neoliberal governmentality. These ethnographic insights contribute to explaining why corporations are increasingly interested in promoting volunteering as a salient Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.},
  author       = {Shachar, Itamar Y and Hustinx, Lesley},
  issn         = {1466-1381},
  journal      = {ETHNOGRAPHY},
  keywords     = {volunteering,corporate volunteering,Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR),corporations,NGOs,agency,governmentality,neoliberalism,multi-sited ethnography,EDUCATION,PROMISE,YOUTH},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {205--226},
  publisher    = {SAGE},
  title        = {Modalities of agency in a corporate volunteering program : cultivating a resource of neoliberal governmentality},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1466138117741503},
  volume       = {20},
  year         = {2019},
}

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