Una Antropología de la Gratuidad: prácticas caritativas y políticas de asistencia social en la Argentina

Laura Zapata

Resumo



El presente articulo analiza las prácticas de caridad que desarrollan un conjunto de agentes sociales definidos como
voluntarias de Caritas y analiza la asistencia social del estado, que se materializa en programas de ayuda social
que ejecutan esas voluntarias, en una parroquia católica de una ciudad media de la Argentina. A diferencia de lo que proponen los enfoques estatalistas sobre el fenómeno de asistencia social, aquí propongo que la caridad y
la asistencia social son hechos estructuralmente asociados y que se han desarrollado como los polos opuestos
alrededor del fenómeno de la circulación gratuita de objetos. A través de la descripción etnográfica de la vida cotidiana de la organización caritativa por excelencia de la Argentina, Caritas, la de sus agentes, las voluntarias,
y de los programas sociales que allí se desarrollan, pretendo mostrar, desde el punto de vista de las voluntarias,
la conflictividad cultural que provocan los fenómenos ligados a la gratuidad, lo cual demanda una antropología especialmente referida a estos fenomenos.

An Anthropology of Gratuitousness: charity practices and social assistance policies in Argentine

Abstract


This papers analyzes charity practices developed by a group of social agents that define themselves as Charity
volunteers as well as social assistance practices of the state, that materialize themselves in programs of social
help lead by these volunteers in a Catholic parish of a medium city in Argentine. In contrast with state oriented
(estatalistas) approaches on the problem of social assistance, it is proposed here that charity and social
assistance are structurally related facts and that they have developed themselves as opposite poles in relation
to the phenomenon of free flow of things. In other words, charity and social assistance shape one type of social
fact that rely on the principle that labels specific objects as free and as a consequence request an attitude towards
them: the elimination of individual interest. The ambiguities of meaning attached to the phenomena framed within
the logic of the gratuitousness often become misunderstandings and double truths, which suppose permanent
conflicts attached to charity and social assistance. Through ethnographic description of everyday routine of the
mayor charity organization of Argentine, Caritas, of their agents, volunteers, and of the social programs it develops, I aim to show, from the point of view of the volunteers, the cultural conflicts that spur from phenomena attached
to gratuitousness, which demand an anthropology that specifically refers to these social facts.


Palavras-chave


asistencia social; gratuidad; organizaciones de voluntariado; social assistance; gratuitousness; volunteering organizations.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5380/cam.v5i2.1623

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