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Austerity workshop encourages interdisciplinary exchange of ideas across Canada

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2007 austerity is often viewed as the new normal. Governments curtail spending in an attempt to control public sector debt. In turn, prolonged budgetary austerity can and has, reshaped the political landscape.

May 29, 2017

Recently, researchers from across Canada gathered at McMaster for a day long workshop hosted by the McMaster Austerity Research Group. The shared purpose was to discuss the complex and wide reaching effects of austerity and how austerity measures are remaking the political geography. 

The group asked challenging questions such as "Do national governments try to offload responsibility to provinces and cities?" or "Can social movements act at the urban scale to contest cuts and propose alternatives?"

“If budgetary cuts are changing the state, then they're also changing relationships between central and local governments.", says Peter Graefe (Political Science), "Budget cuts effect how social movements strategize about where to organize and present demands.”

Highlights of the workshop included presentations on “Austerity and Age Friendly Cities in Toronto”, Meghan Joy (Concordia), “Financialized Fiscal Restraint: more debt, less spending, municipal distress
.”, Heather Whiteside (Waterloo) and “When (anti-austerity) voices encourage exit: the politics of sub-state nationalism in Quebec & Scotland since 2008
”, Hubert Rioux (McMaster).

The Austerity Research Group is a SSHRC-funded, interdisciplinary research group investigating the theory, practice and results of austerity policies. It includes members from seven social science disciplines.

Left to right Stephen McBride, Peter Graefe, and Berkay Ayhan,PhD in Political Science