In recent years we have witnessed massive demonstrations of denial, refusal, and rejection exploding in one country after another. The squares of the world have become organizational focal points for rebellion and repression. What does such collective negation mean, and what comes afterward? This issue explores the forms of a reinvigorated, experimental communism: councils, assemblies, communes, squares, occupys, horizontalism, recovered factories, and cooperative farms and community gardens. Practitioners of this new model of “communism as communizing” attempt to change fundamental social relations from the bottom up.
By combining insider knowledge with sophisticated theoretical scrutiny, the contributors to this issue approach eruptions of rebellion from a variety of historical, economic, and methodological perspectives. Writing not only about but also within such forces of progressive resistance around the world, they investigate the complex, hopeful, and contradictory process of creating new social, economic, and political structures through negation.
Ever since the International Monetary Fund’s first bailout of Greece’s sinking economy in 2010, the phrase “Greek debt” has meant one thing to the country’s creditors. But for millions who claim to prize culture over capital, it means something quite different: the symbolic debt that Western civilization owes to Greece for furnishing its principles of democracy, philosophy, mathematics, and fine art. Where did this other idea of Greek debt come from, Johanna Hanink asks, and why does it remain so compelling today?
The Classical Debt investigates our abiding desire to view Greece through the lens of the ancient past. Though classical Athens was in reality a slave-owning imperial power, the city-state of Socrates and Pericles is still widely seen as a utopia of wisdom, justice, and beauty—an idealization that the ancient Athenians themselves assiduously cultivated. Greece’s allure as a travel destination dates back centuries, and Hanink examines many historical accounts that express disappointment with a Greek people who fail to live up to modern fantasies of the ancient past. More than any other movement, the spread of European philhellenism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries carved idealized conceptions of Greece in marble, reinforcing the Western habit of comparing the Greece that is with the Greece that once was.
Today, as the European Union teeters and neighboring nations are convulsed by political unrest and civil war, Greece finds itself burdened by economic hardship and an unprecedented refugee crisis. Our idealized image of ancient Greece dangerously shapes how we view these contemporary European problems.
In the face of the gradual saturation of US public education by the logics of neoliberalism, educators often find themselves at a loss to respond, let alone resist. Through state defunding and many other “reforms” fueled by austerity politics, a majority of educators are becoming casual labor in US universities while those who hang onto secure employment are pressed to act as self-supporting entrepreneurs or do more with less. Focusing on the discipline of writing studies, this collection addresses the sense of crisis that many educators experience in this age of austerity.
The chapters in this book chronicle how neoliberal political economy shapes writing assessments, curricula, teacher agency, program administration, and funding distribution. Contributors also focus on how neoliberal political economy dictates the direction of scholarship, because the economic and political agenda shaping the terms of work, the methods of delivery, and the ways of valuing and assessing writing also shape the primary concerns and directions of scholarship.
Composition in the Age of Austerity offers critical accounts of how the restructuring of higher education is shaping the daily realities of composition programs. The book documents the effects and implications of the current restructuring, examines how cherished rhetorical ideals actually leave the field unprepared to respond effectively to defunding and corporatizing trends, and establishes points of departure for collective response.
In recent decades, and particularly since the financial crisis, continental Europe has seen an increasing gap between those workers who have well-protected, good-paying jobs with strong benefits and those who work lower-quality, nonstandard jobs, or who have no regular work at all. This situation would seem to call for increased spending on the social safety net, yet governments throughout the region have instead been turning to austerity. In the face of that reality, the options for helping disadvantaged workers are to extend coverage through re-allocating the benefits given to higher-level workers, maintain the benefits of the well-off as the number of outsiders continues to grow, or simply ignore the problem. This book asks why different nations have taken different tacks in handling-or not handling-this problem.
This timely, necessary collection of essays provides feminist analyses of a recession-era media culture characterized by the reemergence and refashioning of familiar gender tropes, including crisis masculinity, coping women, and postfeminist self-renewal. Interpreting media forms as diverse as reality television, financial journalism, novels, lifestyle blogs, popular cinema, and advertising, the contributors reveal gendered narratives that recur across media forms too often considered in isolation from one another. They also show how, with a few notable exceptions, recession-era popular culture promotes affective normalcy and transformative individual enterprise under duress while avoiding meaningful critique of the privileged white male or the destructive aspects of Western capitalism. By acknowledging the contradictions between political rhetoric and popular culture, and between diverse screen fantasies and lived realities, Gendering the Recession helps to make sense of our postboom cultural moment.
Contributors. Sarah Banet-Weiser, Hamilton Carroll, Hannah Hamad, Anikó Imre, Suzanne Leonard, Isabel Molina-Guzmán, Sinéad Molony, Elizabeth Nathanson, Diane Negra, Tim Snelson, Yvonne Tasker, Pamela Thoma
The austerity crisis has radically altered the economic landscape of Southern Europe. But alongside the decimation of public services and infrastructure lies the wreckage of a generation's visions for the future. In Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, there is a new, difficult reality of downward mobility.
Grassroots Economies interrogates the effects of the economic crisis on the livelihood of working people, providing insight into their anxieties. Drawing on a rich seam of ethnographic material, it is a distinctive comparative analysis that explores the contradictions of their coping mechanisms and support structures.
With a focus on gender, the book explores values and ideologies, including dispossession and accumulation. Ultimately it demonstrates that everyday interactions on the local scale provide a significant sense of the global.
A potent re-examination of America’s history of public disinvestment in mass transit.
Many a scholar and policy analyst has lamented American dependence on cars and the corresponding lack of federal investment in public transportation throughout the latter decades of the twentieth century. But as Nicholas Dagen Bloom shows in The Great American Transit Disaster, our transit networks are so bad for a very simple reason: we wanted it this way.
Focusing on Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, and San Francisco, Bloom provides overwhelming evidence that transit disinvestment was a choice rather than destiny. He pinpoints three major factors that led to the decline of public transit in the United States: municipal austerity policies that denied most transit agencies the funding to sustain high-quality service; the encouragement of auto-centric planning; and white flight from dense city centers to far-flung suburbs. As Bloom makes clear, these local public policy decisions were not the product of a nefarious auto industry or any other grand conspiracy—all were widely supported by voters, who effectively shut out options for transit-friendly futures. With this book, Bloom seeks not only to dispel our accepted transit myths but hopefully to lay new tracks for today’s conversations about public transportation funding.
Extreme poverty, which intensified in India during colonial rule, peaked in the 1920s—after decades of imperialist exploitation, famine, and disease—a time when architects, engineers, and city authorities proposed a new type of housing for India’s urban poor and industrial workers. As Farhan Karim argues, economic scarcity became a central inspiration for architectural modernism in the subcontinent.
As India moved from colonial rule to independence, the Indian government, business entities, international NGOs, and intergovernmental agencies took major initiatives to modernize housing conditions and the domestic environment of the state’s low-income population. Of Greater Dignity than Riches traces multiple international origins of austerity as an essential ingredient of postcolonial development. By prescribing model villages, communities, and ideal houses for the working class, this project of austerity eventually reduced poverty into a stylized architectural representation. In this rich and original study, Karim explains the postwar and postcolonial history of low-cost housing as an intertwined process of global transferences of knowledge, Cold War cultural politics, postcolonial nationalism, and the politics of economic development.
Examines the British, French, and German armies’ approaches to accommodating significant budget cuts while attempting to sustain their commitment to full spectrum operations. Specifically, it looks at the choices these armies are making with respect to how they spend dwindling resources: What force structure do they identify as optimal? How much readiness do they regard as necessary? Which capabilities are they abandoning?
A term specifically found in European politics, social concertation refers to cooperation between trade unions, governments and employers in public policy-making. Social Concertation in Times of Austerity investigates the political underpinnings of social concertation in the context of European integration. Alexandre Afonso focuses on the regulation of labor mobility and unemployment protection in Austria and Switzerland, two of Europe’s most prosperous countries, and he looks at nonpartisan policymaking as a strategy for compromise. With this smart, new study, Afonso powerfully enters the debate on the need for a shared social agenda in post-crisis Western Europe.
The past few years have seen an unexpected resurgence of street-level protest movements around the world, from the uprisings of the Arab Spring to the rise of the anti-austerity Indignados in Spain and Greece to the global spread of the Occupy movement. This collection is designed to offer a comparative analysis of these movements, setting them in international, socio-economic, and cross-cultural perspective in order to help us understand why movements emerge, what they do, how they spread, and how they fit into both local and worldwide historical contexts. As the most significant wave of mass protests in decades continues apace, this book offers an authoritative analysis that could not be more timely.
Transatlantic Policymaking in an Age of Austerity integrates the study of politics and public policy across a broad spectrum of regulatory and social welfare policies in the United States and several nations of Western Europe. The editors and a sterling list of contributors look at policymaking in the 1990s through the present—providing a comparative politics framework—stressing both parallel development and the differences between and among the nations. Similar prevailing ideas and political factors can be identified and transatlantic comparisons made—providing for a clearer understanding of the policymaking process.
Faith in regulated markets and the burden of rising welfare costs are concerns found on both sides of the Atlantic. Western democracies also share political climates colored by economic austerity; low trust in government, pressures from interest groups, and a sharply divided electorate. Because of differing political processes and differing policy starting points, a variety of disparate policy decisions have resulted.
Real world policymaking in the areas of welfare, health, labor, immigration reform, disability rights, consumer and environmental regulation, administrative reforms, and corporate governance are compared. Ultimately, the last decade is best characterized as one of "drift," sluggish changes with little real innovation and much default to the private sector. In general, policymakers on both sides of the ocean, constrained by economic necessity, have been unable to produce policy outcomes that satisfy the key segments of the electorate.
The contributors examine the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany, as well as a number of other European countries, and study the European Union itself as a policymaking institution. Transatlantic Policymaking in an Age of Austerity distills the prominent issues, politics, and roles played by governmental institutions into a new understanding of the dynamics of policymaking in and among transatlantic nations.
In the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2008, Britain’s government put into effect a hotly contested series of major cuts in public expenditure with the stated aim of restoring economic security. Since then, this reign of austerity continues to devastate contemporary Britain through a disconnected and unaffected political elite.
In The Violence of Austerity, David Whyte and Vickie Cooper bring together the passionate voices of campaigners and academics to show that rather than stimulating economic growth, austerity policies have led to a dismantling of the social systems that operated as a buffer against economic hardship. Chapters from major contributors—including Danny Dorling, Mary O’Hara and Rizwaan Sabir—show how austerity is a form of institutional violence more socially harmful and far-reaching than other more politicized and publicized forms of violence, such as terrorism or gun violence. Contributors expose highly significant cases of this institutional violence driven by public sector cuts: police attacks on the homeless, violent evictions of the rented sector, risks faced by people on workfare, and more. The Violence of Austerity is a devastating, authoritative study of the myriad ways austerity policies harm people in Britain that will resonate with anyone concerned with the increasing power of the political elite and the future of social welfare.