Narratives beyond civility : moral protest and cooperation in ethical communities

Palmer, Victoria Jane (2006) Narratives beyond civility : moral protest and cooperation in ethical communities. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


In spite of the rhetoric of partnership and collaboration in the Australian community sectors, economic values of competition have superseded social and co-operative values of self-help, empowerment, mutual benefit and solidarity. Reconfiguration of how co-operative practices can be understood in terms of social capital theory and civil society has been of limited success in countering this slide to economic rationalism. Ironically, many community practices, including co-operatives, explicitly emerged from moral protest against prevailing oppressive policies; that is co-operative and community development practices exist to embody an alternative set of values to oppressive features of dominant political and social institutions of the day.

This thesis identifies and analyses the features of co-operative practices which resist economic capture by the dominant ideology of neo-liberalism. It examines how co-operative practices can be analysed as forms of moral protest that offer and embody counterstories to master narratives that shape dominant institutions. Importantly, it is understood that not all forms of moral protest are socially transformative. While fostering social change, co-operatives must also resist ossification of their own principles and practices into homogenised traditions that exclude rather than include others.

To conduct this analysis, interviews were conducted with subjects engaged in co-operative activities. H. L. Nelson's (2001) narrative approach to ethics was used to identify how co-operatives can be positioned as counterstories to dominant narratives. T. Cooper's (1997) distinction between moral and ethical communities was then deployed to account for the features of co-operative practice that might lead to exclusion and non-co-operative identities. Finally, A.W. Frank's (1995) body-self type continuum was applied to co-operative practices to further evaluate the degree to which those who participated in these saw themselves contributing to practices of social transformation or defensive strategies of personal survival.

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ID Code: 16365
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Jordan, Trevor & Massey, David
Keywords: narrative, civility, moral protest, ethical communities
Divisions: ?? School of Humanities and Human Services ??
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Department: QUT Carseldine
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Victoria Jane Palmer
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:01
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:46

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