Nostalgia and Austerity, or, the never-ending dream of excess | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2040-6134
  • E-ISSN: 2040-6142


The article is an attempt to examine the transformation of the neo-liberal ideology of consumption that has taken place since the onset of the global recession in 2008. The first section is an examination of Karl Marx's account of the antagonisms inherent in classical economic theories of happiness, desire and prosperity, and how these have been intensified in the neo-liberal culture of consumption. The second section analyses the present conditions of class and identity formation that the UK Conservative Party has called ‘Broken Britain’. Specifically, I will look at the relationship between the culture of ‘chance’, as it has crystallized into the discursive and aesthetic figure of ‘the underclass’, and the forms of ressentiment that are its ideological counterpart. The final section will examine the significance of this configuration of the prudent and the profligate, the decent and the obscene, for the possibility of social and political change.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): conservatism; consumption; ideology; representation; underclass
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