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Title: An analysis of crisis construction in the British post-2008 context
Author: Craig, Martin P. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 9044
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2015
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My thesis presents a constructivist institutionalist analysis of the British ‘post-2008 context’, a conjuncture that I operationalise as the five-year period following the financial crash of 2007-2008. I conceptualise economic crisis as the perception of the need for ‘decisive intervention’ in response to economic policy failure. This constructivist conceptualisation asserts that the trajectory of political-economic restructuring in response to crisis is shaped by the way that policymakers ‘diagnose’ economic symptoms, and the success with which they persuade the electorate of the necessity of corresponding decisive interventions. Interpreting the trajectory of political-economic restructuring in the post-2008 context in this light, I operationalise and empirically interrogate the ‘crisis diagnoses’ and ‘crisis narratives’ of the two post-2008 governments. My empirical analysis is informed by, and speaks to, two principal literatures. The first concerns neoliberalism and ‘neoliberalisation’. The second analyses the emergence and subsequent failure of a fragile and contradictory ‘growth model’ in Britain, viewing this as an unanticipated consequence of neoliberal political-economic restructuring. My analysis indicates a more complex and contested process of crisis construction than the predominant focus on macroeconomic policy leads us to believe. I present evidence for the existence of two crisis diagnoses existing simultaneously in government – one neoliberal, one not – on the part of macroeconomic and industrial policymakers respectively. I argue that this reflects the impact of departmental boundaries on the process of crisis diagnosis. I find the neoliberal crisis diagnosis and the decisive interventions to which it points to be the predominant one, reflected in the constrained resources given over to post-2008 industrial policy and the centrality of the defence of neoliberalisation in post-2008 crisis narratives. Yet I argue that, in light of the latter literature, my findings point to the potential for contingency and categorical political-economic change in the present conjuncture.
Supervisor: Hay, C. S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available