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Echoes of austerity

Policy, temporality, and public health in South Africa

Theodore Powers

using the media to bring attention to the impact of the public sector bed closures. On several occasions, Elise forcefully made the point that neo liberal fiscal austerity lay at the root of the health cuts. There was broad agreement with her

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Ruy Llera Blanes

In response to the editors of this theme section's questioning of austerity's “time and place” (see Powers and Rakopoulos, this issue), in this article I explore two ideas: the political semantics of austerity, and its spatialities, unfolding

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Daniel M. Knight

then there are the crippling extra property taxes introduced over the last few years.” As austerity ravishes every aspect of life, the inherited home has become a financial and psychological drain. The irony, Eleni notes, is that by signing over the

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Theodore Powers and Theodoros Rakopoulos

The European sovereign debt crisis and the related processes of austerity have been intensely discussed post-2008. Pensions, livelihoods, and public health have been sacrificed so that debts may be repaid. The resulting social, political, and

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Austerity in Africa

Audit cultures and the weakening of public sector health systems

James Pfeiffer

Béhague 2014 ; Strathern 2000 ) that is in part characterized by managers and accountants usurping the role of actual experts in evaluating and measuring performance. Audit culture became integral to the neoliberal logics of austerity, privatization

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Reversing the world—What austerity does to time and place

Theodoros Rakopoulos

We have been talking a lot about what austerity is —we might benefit from actually asking what austerity does. The definitions of what austerity is might assume much already: seeking for a new definition for a supposedly new reality, a

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It Was Not Meant to Be This Way

An Unfortunate Case of Anglo-Saxon Parochialism?

Tom Frost

embarked upon a radical austerity regime. Made up of deep spending cuts in the main, without the Keynesian stimulus package demanded by many economists ( Krugman 2015 ), the austerity measures were designed to reduce the U.K.’s public accounts deficit

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Uneven development, the politics of scale, or global austerity?

Ida Susser

conceptual approach to the idea of austerity, as a neoliberal policy of governance. The articles offer a complex examination of austerity, sometimes talking about what might be characterized as traveling discourses of neoliberalism among state governments and

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Richard H. Robbins

historical rates of return on capital (see, e.g., Di Muzio 2015 ). In effect, what we generally call neoliberalism, austerity, or, in emerging economies, structural adjustment have been, in effect, a series of policies to compensate for slower growth and

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Social Movements and Social Policies

Political Challenges under Austerity in the UK

Gregory White

The economic crisis of 2007/2008 presented a challenge to the welfare state in the UK, and, more widely, across Europe. It also presented a challenge to many citizens, who were on the receiving end of the austerity agenda, and subsequent tightening of welfare spending. If nothing else, the financial crisis demonstrated the hegemony of economic theories prominent in neoliberal capitalism. As many academics and commentators have identified, however, the current period of instability is indicative of a systemic crisis. In addition to this analysis, the crisis also exposed the intricate and opaque links between western governments and the financial sector. During and after the crisis an eruption of activity in civil society galvanized many that had been directly affected by either the crisis itself—through loss of employment—or by the subsequent austerity measures imposed. This article aims to examine the current crisis affecting the welfare state in the UK, and social policy more broadly, and, begins to suggest how social movements are seeking to challenge the dominant discourses surrounding austerity politics. The article suggests some reasons as to why traditional forms of resistance and organization—such as the mobilizations of the trade union movement—have largely been unsuccessful in challenging such narratives. The article concludes by considering the shift from trade unionism in the UK to post-crisis social movements, and where an anti-austerity movement more broadly might develop further in pursuit of defending the principles of social welfare, and, ultimately, the welfare state.