Austerity has been sold to publics across Europe as an economic imperative – the only legitimate response to the various capitalist crises now afflicting liberal western democracies. Existing research has emphasised that the impacts of austerity extend beyond the economic, to the political, social and cultural. This project makes a significant contribution by exploring how austerity in Europe is feeding into rising anti-politics, political crisis and, potentially, renewal.
It will do this in two ways.
- It brings two key dynamics of contemporary politics, “anti-politics” and “austerity”, into dialogue. Anti-politics is viewed as the disenchantment with, or retreat from, ‘traditional’ modes and spheres of the political. Austerity is understood as a re-configuring of the state/market relation characterized by, among other things, the retrenchment of the state.
- It brings political scientists and geographers together in comparative and European collaborations to address the scalar and spatial dimensions of the anti-politics of austerity.
Through this integrated, multidisciplinary approach this project will support and extend an emerging network of scholars to develop political understandings of space beyond the ‘metaphorical’, as a contested outcome (and shaper) of social relations. Further, it will allow geographers to engage with the diverse intellectual resources political scientists have brought to anti-politics research. Through doing so the project will develop theoretical insights on the impact of austerity, the ways it entwines with anti-politics, including the spatial and scalar opportunities for political renewal.