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Wrestling with Austerity

Stephen McBride form the Department of Political Science publishes two new volumes on Austerity

Nov 07, 2017

"Austerity means starving the public sector of resources and privileging private actors. A long-standing feature of neoliberalism, after the economic crisis of 2008 it became the centrepiece of state policy," notes Dr. McBride. In 2014, he co-organized a SSHRC-funded international workshop on Manufacturing and Framing Austerity, held under the auspices of McMaster's Austerity Research Group, to better understand the impacts of austerity. The debates and questions launched at that event have now taken form in two new volumes co-edited with Dr. Bryan Evans from Ryerson University and published by University of Toronto Press.

In The Austerity State, the  contributors probe the role of the state in instituting harsh public sector retrenchment and lower living standards in response to a crisis entirely attributable to the private sector.

In Austerity : the Lived Experience the focus is on the way people experience austerity. This includes how at the level of ideas they often internalize and consent to the logic of austerity, even while suffering from its material results. Yet Dr. McBride argues that the story is not purely pessimistic: "as many contributors note, there is also significant resistance at the grass roots level and this has the potential to permeate into broader political processes."

The two volumes highlight the involvement and inclusion of the department's graduate students in research and publication. They include work by present and past PhD students, including Sorin Mitrea on the policy rhetoric of fiscal consolidation, Jacob Muirhead on the low-wage economy, and Hubert Rioux on developing alternatives to austerity.

Learn more about Austerity and its Alternatives