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Title: The everyday politics of the age of austerity : crisis and the legitimation of fiscal consolidation in the UK
Author: Stanley, Liam
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 1363
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2014
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In 2010, the British Coalition government came to power explicitly promising spending cuts as part of a wider fiscal consolidation programme to resolve a debt crisis. Despite this promise to reduce public services, the British public seemed to reluctantly accept as necessary the imperatives of this debt crisis. Why? Through the analysis of data from focus groups conducted around Birmingham, this thesis tackles this puzzle of austerity acquiescence by answering a double-edged central research question: how do everyday actors make sense of austerity, and what do these processes tell us about the legitimation of austerity and the wider politics of crisis? The central argument is that while austerity is a vague and highly moral idea, it is simultaneously powerful and 'successful' inasmuch that it resonates with the 'mood of the times'. In other words, fiscal consolidation has been conferred a degree of legitimacy since it can be justified in line with some of the intersubjective beliefs and experiences of the public. Through this argument, this thesis primarily contributes to the discipline of political economy through a novel empirical account of austerity acquiescence and a constructivist framework for exploring how crises and narratives are conferred legitimacy through resonating with the mood of the times.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JA Political science (General)