This introduction posits that austerity is an instantiation of structural
adjustment programs (SAPs) and thus must be revisited in two ways, involving
its historical and geographical rendering. First, anthropological accounts should
think of austerity in the long term, providing encompassing genealogies of the
concept rather than seeing it as breach to historical continuity. Second, the discipline
should employ the comparative approach to bring together analyses of SAPs
in the Global South and austerity measures in the Global North, providing a more
comprehensive analysis of this phenomenon. We are interested in what austerity
does to people’s temporal consciousness, and what such people do toward a policy
process that impacts their lives. We find, in this comparative pursuit, instead of
Foucauldian internalization, dissent and dissatisfaction.
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