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Workfare, post-Soviet austerity and the ethics of freedom

This book is an ethnography of politics of waiting in the contemporary austerity state. While the global political economy is usually imagined through metaphors of acceleration and speed, this book reveals waiting as the shadow temporality of the contemporary logics of governance. The ethnographic site for this analysis is a state-run unemployment office in Latvia. This site not only grants the author unique access to observing everyday implementation of social assistance programmes that use acceleration and waiting as forms of control but also serves as a vantage point from which to compare Western and post-Soviet workfare policy designs. The book thus contributes to current debates across sociology and anthropology on the increasingly coercive forms of social control by examining ethnographically forms of statecraft that have emerged in the aftermath of several decades of neoliberalism. The ethnographic perspective reveals how time shapes a nation’s identity as well as one’s sense of self and ordinary ethics in culturally specific ways. The book traces how both the Soviet past, with its narratives of building communism at an accelerated speed while waiting patiently for a better future, as well as the post-Soviet nationalist narratives of waiting as a sacrifice for freedom come to play a role in this particular case of the politics of waiting.

Editors: Michael Holmes and Knut Roder

The financial crisis that erupted on both sides of the Atlantic in 2007–8 initially seemed to offer new political and economic opportunities to the left. As financial institutions collapsed, traditional left-wing issues were apparently back on the agenda. There was the prospect of a return to a more regulated economy, there was widespread state intervention to try to salvage failing banks, and it led to increased scrutiny of the wages and bonuses at the upper end of the scale. However, instead of being a trigger for a resurgence of the left, and despite a surge of support for new parties like SYRIZA and Podemos, in many European countries left-wing parties have suffered electoral defeat. At the same time, the crisis has led to austerity programmes being implemented across Europe, causing further erosion of the welfare state and pushing many into poverty. This timely book examines this crucial period for the left in Europe from a number of perspectives and addresses key questions including: How did political parties from the left respond to the crisis both programmatically and politically? What does the crisis mean for the relationship between the left and European integration? What does the crisis mean for socialism as an economic, political and social project? This collection focuses on a comparison between ten EU member states, and considers a range of different party families of the left, from social democracy through green left to radical left.

The Right and the Recession considers the ways in which conservative activists, groupings, parties and interests in the US and Britain responded to the financial crisis and the “Great Recession” that followed in its wake. The book looks at the tensions and stresses between different ideas, interests and institutions and the ways in which they shaped the character of political outcomes. In Britain, these processes opened the way for leading Conservatives to redefine their commitment to fiscal retrenchment and austerity. Whereas public expenditure reductions had been portrayed as a necessary response to earlier “overspending” they were increasingly represented as a way of securing a permanently “leaner” state. The book assesses the character of this shift in thinking as well as the viability of these efforts to shrink the state and the parallel attempts in the US to cut federal government spending through mechanisms such as the budget sequester.

Stories from modern nomads

On the global stage the British diaspora, proportionate to its population, remains one of the largest. This book is the first social history to explore experiences of British emigrants from the peak years of the 1960s to the emigration resurgence of the turn of the twentieth century. It explores migrant experiences in Australia, Canada and New Zealand alongside other countries. The book charts the gradual reinvention of the 'British diaspora' from a postwar migration of austerity to a modern migration of prosperity. It is divided into two parts. First part presents a decade-by-decade chronology of changes in migration patterns and experience, progressing gradually from the postwar migration of austerity to a more discretionary mobility of affluence. It discusses 'pioneers of modern mobility'; the 1970s rise in non-white migration and the decline of British privilege in the old Commonwealth countries of white settlement; 'Thatcher's refugees' and cosmopolitanism and 'lifestyle' migration. Second part shifts from a chronological to a thematic focus, by drilling down into some of the more prominent themes encountered. It explores the interplay of patterns of change and continuity in the migrant careers of skilled workers, trade unionists, professionals and mobile academics. The push and pull of private life, migration to transform a way of life, and migrant and return experiences discussed highlight the underlying theme of continuity amidst change. The long process of change from the 1960s to patterns of discretionary, treechange and nomadic migration became more common practice from the end of the twentieth century.

This book surveys ‘thrift’ through its moral, religious, ethical, political, spiritual and philosophical expressions, focusing in on key moments such as the early Puritans and postwar rationing, and key characters such as Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Smiles and Henry Thoreau. The relationships between thrift and frugality, mindfulness, sustainability and alternative consumption practices are explained, and connections made between myriad conceptions of thrift and contemporary concerns for how consumer cultures impact scarce resources, wealth distribution and the Anthropocene. Ultimately, the book returns the reader to an understanding of thrift as it was originally used – to ‘thrive’ – and attempts to re-cast thrift in more collective, economically egalitarian terms, reclaiming it as a genuinely resistant practice. Students, scholars and general readers across all disciplines and interest areas will find much of interest in this book, which provides a multi-disciplinary look at a highly topical concept.

The politics of triumph and despair

The aim of this book is to assess the quarter century of political competition in the Republic of Ireland from the time of the ending of recession of the 1980s up to the 2011 general election where Ireland was ruled by the Troika and austerity was a by-word for both policy making and how many people lived their lives. This book assesses in a thematic way the forces which shaped the decisions that political elites in Ireland took over the course of this crucial quarter century in modern Irish life. It examines the nature of electoral competition in modern Ireland by focusing on a number of key themes that shaped the decisions of Irish politicians. These include the nature of coalition politics in Ireland; the payments to politicians by developers and businessmen that led to a number of tribunals of inquiry; the culture wars over divorce and abortion; the process of the economic collapse to boom and back to collapse cycle that effected the lives of so many Irish people; and the collapse of Ireland’s natural party of government, Fianna Fáil. It analyses why Irish citizens have been comfortable in continuing to vote for traditional political elites despite the failures of the Irish state and explains why it has been so difficult for new parties to emerge.

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The politics of modernisation and manipulation

This book provides a new and distinctive interpretation on the political strategy of David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. Rather than offering a chronological overview of his leadership, or a policy-based approach, the book assesses Cameronism via two themes – modernisation and manipulation. In terms of the modernisation the book will examine the following. First, how Cameron attempted to detoxify the negative image of the Conservatives. Second, how Cameron sought to delegitimise Labour as a party of government by deflecting the blame on austerity onto the legacy of Labour in office. Third, how Cameron used the Big Society narrative as a means of reducing the perceived responsibilities of the state. In terms of manipulation the book will evaluate Cameronism in relation to coalition government, and the exploitation of the Liberal Democrats will be examined, notably in relation to austerity, tuition fees and electoral reform. Cameronism will also be examined in relation the challenges to the existing political order by considering the demands for Scottish independence, and the rise of UKIP and the case for a referendum on continued European Union membership. Through this dual emphasis on modernisation and manipulation the book will provide an exploration of the key events and issues that defined the premiership of David Cameron, and a clear overview of his successes and failures as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. The book will be essential reading to those interested in British party politics and prime ministerial leadership.

The Clash, the dawn of neoliberalism and the political promise of punk
Editor: Colin Coulter

There are few bands that have enjoyed as much adoration or endured as much criticism as The Clash. Emerging originally as a principal voice in the burgeoning mid-1970s London punk scene, The Clash would soon cast off the fetters that restricted many of their peers, their musical tastes becoming ever more eclectic and their political field of vision ever more global. In the process, the band would widen the cultural and political horizons of their audience and would for many come to exemplify the power of popular music to change minds. While The Clash would attract a great deal of critical acclaim, this would always be less than universal. In the eyes of their many detractors, the radical political stance of the band was little more than self-mythologising posture, neatly serving the culture industries in their perennial goal of ‘turning rebellion into money’. In this collection, scholars working out of very different contexts and academic traditions set out to examine this most complex and controversial of bands. Across a dozen original essays, the authors provide fresh insights into the music and politics of The Clash in ways that are by turns both critical and celebratory. While the book seeks to locate the band in their own time and place, it also underlines their enduring and indeed very contemporary significance. A common thread running though the essays here is that the songs The Clash wrote four decades ago to document a previous, pivotal moment of geopolitical transformation have a remarkable resonance in our own current moment of prolonged global turbulence. Written in a style that is both scholarly and accessible, Working for the clampdown offers compelling and original takes on one of the most influential and incendiary acts ever to grace a stage.

Trying but failing to renew social democracy

When Ed Miliband was elected leader of the Labour Party in 2010 he sought to turn the page on New Labour and use the global financial crisis as an opportunity to renew social democracy. With great intellectual and ideological gusto Miliband and his team searched, adopted and adapted new and old ideas that would address the policy puzzles left open by the global financial crisis. This book seeks to determine whether Ed Miliband was successful in his task by analysing the different ideas that were adopted and adapted by the Labour Party in the period 2010-15. Using discursive institutionalism and historical institutionalism, this book will map the political ideas and will identify the main ideational, institutional and political constraints that impacted and shaped the Labour Party’s political agenda. The book argues that the Labour Party under Ed Miliband tried but failed to renew social democracy. The timing, the prevalence of the neoliberalism in public discourse as well as Miliband’s inability to find a coalition of supporters for his transformative agenda and his own shortcomings as party leader led to a watered down political agenda that lacked boldness, clarity and definition. This lack of definition and clarity was one of the reasons why Milibandism was so overwhelmingly rejected by voters in May 2015.

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Making do, rationing and nostalgic austerity

69 5 Nationalist thrift: making do, rationing and nostalgic austerity ‘Make do and mend’: thrift in the name of democracy So far, this book has tackled the religious thrift of the Puritans with its Providentialist and later more pragmatic concerns, the strict moral thrift of the Victorians with its grounding in individualism and social righteousness, and the spiritual individualism and communal vision of Thoreau. This chapter will explore examples of thrift quintessentially different from those witnessed so far, due to their emphasis on social solidarity based

in A brief history of thrift