This dissertation examines the expansion of the non-profit system in the US and its impact on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) social movement. In 1960 there were 3,000 501c non-profits in the US. By 2000, that number had leapt to 1,569,572. By 2011, total assets held by non-profits grew to $6.3 trillion, increasing by 106% in the past decade, far outpacing both state and business sector growth. One feature of this explosion has been the literal incorporation of social movements into non-profits. This dissertation analyzes this proliferation, exploring non-profits as key sites from which to understand contemporary capitalism and the changing role of social movements in it. The growth of the non-profit system coincides with and illustrates a profound shift in how the material needs of people living in poverty are - or are not - met. It offers a window into the demise of the social welfare state in the US and the rise of neoliberalism: the dominant political economic framework in the US that champions privatization, deregulation, and so-called "free" enterprise. Under this system, key social welfare provisions have been transferred from the state onto the non-profit sector, and consequently, more people must rely on non-profits in order to meet their most basic needs. This dissertation examines the impact of "non-profitization" on LGBT social movements. In the context of the shifts detailed above, the modern LGBT movement has taken its present shape: a vast network of community centers, rights organizations, social service agencies, and other non-profits explicitly working in and for LGBT communities. This new array of institutions reflects a profound change in LGBT movement politics, from a critique of sexual norms and state regulation that reflected the radical politics of the 1960s and 1970s, to a fairly limited push for formal legal inclusion. Compassion, Community, Capital, and Crisis connects the rise of assimilationist queer politics focused on formal legal equality to the institutional location from which that politics is articulated: LGBT non-profits. The institutional form of queer social movements, I argue, structures the politics articulated from within them.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2014. Major: American Studies. Advisors: Kevin Murphy, Teresa Gowan. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 245 pages.
Compassion, Community, Capital, and Crisis: Neoliberalism and the Non-Profitization of Queer Social Movements.
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