[MGSA-L] CFP AAA 2015: Austerity, the state and common sense in Europe.

Antonio Maria Pusceddu ampusceddu at gmail.com
Thu Apr 2 02:50:56 PDT 2015

Dear colleagues,

*Apologies for cross-posting*

Please find bellow the CFP for an AAA session titled: Austerity, the state
and common sense in Europe.

Organizers: Patrícia Matos & Antonio Maria Pusceddu
University of Barcelona,
ERC Researchers, Grassroots Economics Project

This panel seeks to understand the reshaping of people’s practices and
worldviews in the wake of the austerity project in Europe. We want to
address the development of austerity as a joint economic, ideological and
political project. Gramsci defined “common sense” as “a widespread
conception of life and morality” tied to the concrete experiences and
practices of earning a livelihood within a particular structure of capital
accumulation. We think that this concept, and its political counterpart of
“hegemony”, will help us explain the different national expressions of the
recent structural adjustment measures in Europe.

Following the financial crisis of 2008, transnational institutions of
governance, such as the International Monetary Fund or the European
Commission, and European states favored the theory of “expansionary
austerity” as the main policy towards economic recovery. The theory rests
on two claims: (1) that states should concentrate on fiscal consolidation
through extensive government budget cuts and (2) that this will stimulate
private consumption and investment even in the short term. In contrast,
many reports by mainstream and heterodox economists alike have pointed to
the contractionary effects of austerity policies, and to their harmful
consequences on people’s livelihoods. In European countries, austerity has
often been described as a deepening of long-term neoliberalization
processes that started in the 1980s. Nevertheless, the historical and
context-bound character of austerity projects together with the nature of
people’s agency capabilities need to be further explored and theorized.

We invite contributors to address some of the following issues:
1. Why are people’s responses to austerity policies nationally diverse and
span a wide ideological range?
2. How do citizens subject to austerity processes understand, resist or
consent to policy measures that undermine their livelihood opportunities?
3. What legitimizing practices does the state mobilize to institute a
widely shared vocabulary and a praxis of national austerity?
4. How does the politico-economic project of austerity manufacture a common
sense about the changing relationships between the state, social groups and

The contributions of this panel seek to clarify why austerity remains,
implicitly or explicitly, a pervasive political narrative and economic
doctrine. We hope it will also shed light on the different impact it has in
the reconfiguration of the power geometries of European states. Finally, we
expect the debate to expand the theorization of austerity as a hegemonic
project, capable of capturing and changing the state-form, with the aim of
framing agency in a naturalized common sense of a new social order.

Keywords: Austerity, common sense, hegemony, Europe, agency, state

Don’t hesitate to contact us for any further clarification, or send an
abstract (of no more than 250 words), paper title and keywords (max. 5) by 7
April 2015, to patricia.r.m.a.matos at gmail.com and ampusceddu at gmail.com.

All the very best,
Patrícia Matos & Antonio Maria Pusceddu
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