Professionelle Authentizitat
Cover der Zeitschrift für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft, Ausgabe 2, 2023


authenticity, neoliberalism, volunteering, fundraising, emotional practices


The idea of an authentic self is at the heart of building trust in NGO fundraising. This paper asks how personal fundraising by paid workers ( ‚dialogers‘) relates to expectations of authenticity. Building on a review of the online self-representations of NGO fundraising agencies’ and on an ethnographic study of fundraisers’ work, it traces where the concept of the authentic self becomes relevant in fundraising and how it relates to notions of neoliberal labour. A conceptual history of personal authenticity, attempts at interpretation from cultural studies and media studies, as well as reflections on authenticity in fundraising marketing serve as approaches to the research field and lead to an account of the dialogers’ narrative selves. This enables a reflection on how authenticity as a powerful discourse relates to NGOs and to neoliberal worlds of work in general. The paper aims to condense the broad theory on personal authenticity and relate it to salaried work in the context of voluntary engagement. Furthermore, the examination of this special case of professional trust work helps to review assumptions that all too quickly arise from the interpretive pattern of ‚neoliberalism‘.

Dieses Werk steht unter der Lizenz Creative Commons Namensnennung 4.0 International.

Copyright (c) 2023 Zeitschrift für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft. Journal for Cultural Analysis and European Ethnology