Skip to content

Toggle service links

Contemporary politics and policies of governing the social in the age of ‘austerity’: opening lecture by John Clarke

CCIG launched a lecture Series: ‘Being on the line: citizenship, identities and governance in times of crises’.

CCIG launched on the 21st of May a lecture Series: ‘Being on the line: citizenship, identities and governance in times of crises’.

In this series, leading CCIG researchers examine social sciences’ potentials and limits, rework old concepts and develop new ideas and methods to draw out possibilities for critique, social justice and positive social change in times of crises.

The opening lecture was given by Prof John Clarke who explored contemporary politics and policies of governing the social in the age of ‘austerity’.

John started by exploring how ‘Austerity’ is understood in the current coalition government as a virtuous necessity. He then questioned what are presented as core values of this government: freedom, fairness, and responsibility. He dissected the idea of Making responsible people, and how this nurtures a culture of suspicion. The problem becomes the ‘irresponsibles’, those who are not earning, those who are exploitative, those who do not know how to make the right choices. This underlines how much the concept of ‘fairness’ has been transformed in becoming central to current political culture. Fairness is now defined as only available for those who ‘earn’ it and has become conditional. It no longer applies to the poorest or the most excluded. This reveals its role as  governmental disciplinary mechanism, which leads to punitive practices that link welfare reforms, working conditions, policing, penal reform… and more.

Wendy Larner (University of Bristol) and Sarah Neal (University of Surrey) then discussed John’s presentation. Videos are available here.

Podcasts

Podcasts archive