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Title: The Most Charitable City: How the Non-Profit Industrial Complex Maintains Structural Inequity in Memphis, TN
Authors: Mayeux, Allison G.
Keywords: Institute for Regional Studies;Papers;Non-Profit;Neoliberalism;Philanthropy;Non-profit Industrial Complex;Memphis, TN;Student Research
Issue Date: 1-Aug-2021
Abstract: Scholars, activists, and organizers understand the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) as the overlapping interests of the capitalist state, local governments, individuals, private entities, and nonprofits themselves in maintaining the structural power that they each hold in our society. As of 2017, the Chronicle of Philanthropydeemed the city of Memphis the most charitable in the nation, so it is worth exploring how the NPIC functions to maintain the racial capitalist power structure that initially produces such vast inequality in the city. An abundance of research relates to the social service sector, yet a majority of this literature does not provide explicit critiques of the non-profit system as it relates to racial capitalism, nor does it provide a framework for understanding how nonprofits are a necessary tool of the capitalist state. Understanding the contours of the NPIC is vital in grasping the role that non-profit organizations have in upholding systemic inequality in a city so desperately reliant on them for survival. I examined existing literature around the non-profit system and its relationship with neoliberalism and racial capitalism and applied this theoretical framework to Memphis non-profit organizations. By exploring the ways in which nonprofits function under neoliberalism, I theorize why the non-profit sector holds a critical role in the maintenance of inequality and why it is not capable of producing radical transformation.
Appears in Collections:Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies

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