Abstract: The language, logic and practices of austerity seem to have saturated everyday life. In the process, we have lived through a concerted attack on ideas of entitlement and equality. This paper tries to understand the manner and nature of the shift in popular discourse and institutional practices brought about through austerity measures. The paper argues that (i) austerity is not and has never been designed as a short-term measure (ii) austerity represents an attempt to reshape the political terrain in a manner that dismantles many of the partial gains of the twentieth century (iii) this dismantling goes far beyond a cutting of service provision and threatens to corrode social connections and confound the articulation of entitlement, solidarity or conviviality. As always, the question is how we think beyond the constraints of this unhappy moment.
Biography: Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya is Professor of Sociology at the University of East London. She has written extensively in the area of ‘race’ and racisms, sexuality, global cultures and the ‘war on terror’. She is completing a book with Palgrave Macmillan on equality and justice in a post-austerity world.