Popular culture and anti-austerity protest | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2040-6134
  • E-ISSN: 2040-6142

Abstract

The prevailing description of our times as an ‘age of austerity’ has hardened into an axiom with extraordinary rapidity. Focusing on contemporary popular and consumer culture in Britain, this article makes a contribution to the task of subjecting the discourse of ‘austerity’ to the consideration it properly demands. I identify and interrogate the meanings that ‘austerity’ has in contemporary culture, and recall the contingency of the processes through which these meanings have been consolidated,a task that is all the more urgent, I suggest, when it feels like one prevailing signification has already ‘won out’. The article is organized around the discussion of three dominant meanings of austerity: austerity as ‘responsible politics’, deficit reduction and coalition government policy; austerity as the ‘other’ that defines left-political struggle; and austerity as ‘austerity chic’. The latter points to a conception of austerity as object of desire, an element that I develop and use to question the currently dominant critical position in left-cultural politics, the position of being ‘anti-aust rity’.

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2012-11-16
2024-04-21
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