Challenging the age of austerity: Disruptive agency after the global economic crisis

  • David J. Bailey
  • Mònica Clua-Losada
  • Nikolai Huke
  • Olatz Ribera-Almandoz
  • Kelly Rogers
Original Article

Abstract

This article explores the different forms of disruptive subjectivity that have developed in the context of the post-2008 global and European crises. The article traces developments both before and after 2008, with a specific focus on events in Spain and the UK. These country contexts are chosen due to their considerable differences in terms of the impact that the crisis had; yet we witness notable similarities with regard to the instances of refusal and resistance observed, especially in terms of the motives held and forms adopted, albeit with differences in scale. The paper presents the results of qualitative research, including 65 in-depth interviews, to highlight the way in which disaffection, the search for voice, and the threat of withdrawal from relations of exploitation have each become problematic as means of dissent following 2008. As a result, we have seen a merging of these more conventional forms of dissent with a number of more radical prefigurative practices that had been developing prior to 2008. As a result, the stagnation of neoliberal capitalism from 2008 onwards has witnessed the development of a new form of pragmatically prefigurative disruptive subjectivity, responsible for some of the more important and interesting political developments in contemporary advanced industrial democracies.

Keywords

refusal resistance global economic crisis austerity UK Spain 

References

  1. Armingeon, K. and Guthmann, K. (2014) Democracy in crisis? The declining support for national democracy in European countries, 2007–2011. European Journal of Political Research 53: 423–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bailey, D.J. (2014) Contending the crisis: What role for extra-parliamentary British politics? British Politics 9(1): 68–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bailey, D.J. (2015) Resistance is futile? The impact of disruptive protest in the ‘silver age of permanent austerity. Socio-Economic Review 13(1): 5–32. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bailey, D.J., Clua-Losada, M. and Huke, N. (forthcoming) Beyond Defeat and Austerity: Disrupting (the Critical Political Economy of) Neoliberal Europe. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Bieling, H.-J., and Lux, J. (2014). Crisis-induced social conflicts in the European union-trade union perspectives: The emergence of ‘Crisis Corporatism’ or the failure of corporatist arrangements? Global Labour Journal 5(3): 153–175.Google Scholar
  6. Clua Losada, M. (2010) Solidarity, global restructuring and deregulation: The Liverpool Dockers’ Dispute 199598. PhD thesis, University of York. Available from: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/1137/.
  7. Clua-Losada, M. and Navarro, V. (eds.) (2012) El impacto de la crisis en las familias y en la infancia. Barcelona: Editorial Ariel.Google Scholar
  8. Clua-Losada, M. and Ribera-Almandoz, O. (2016) Authoritarian neoliberalism and the disciplining of labour. In: C.B. Tansel (ed.) States of Discipline. Authoritarian Neoliberalism and the Crises of Capitalism. London: Rowman & Littlefield International (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  9. Crouch, C. (2004) Post-democracy. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  10. Crouch, C. (2011) The strange non-death of neoliberalism. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  11. Della Porta, D. (2015) Social movements in times of austerity: Bringing capitalism back into protest analysis. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  12. Dinerstein, A.C. (2014a) The politics of autonomy in Latin America: The art of organising hope. Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  13. Dinerstein, A.C. (2014b) Too bad for the facts: Confronting value with hope (Notes on the Argentine uprising of 2001). South Atlantic Quarterly 113(2), 367–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ezrow, L. and Hellwig, T. (2014) Responding to voters or responding to markets? Political parties and public opinion in an era of globalization. International Studies Quarterly 58: 816–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Federici, S. (2012) Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle. Oakland: PM Press.Google Scholar
  16. Flesher Fominaya, C. (2015) Redefining the crisis/redefining democracy: Mobilising for the right to housing in Spain’s PAH Movement. South European Society and Politics 20(4): 465–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Flesher Fominaya, C. and Cox, L. (eds.) (2013) Understanding European Movements: New social movements, global justice struggles, anti-austerity protest. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Ford, R. and Goodwin, M. (2014) Revolt on the right: Explaining support for the radical right in Britain. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Graeber, D. (2009) Direct action: An ethnography. Oakland: AK Press.Google Scholar
  20. Gumbrell-McCormick, R. and Hyman, R. (2013) Trade unions in Western Europe: Hard times, hard choices. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Haas, T. and Huke, N. (2015) Spanien - ‘Sie wollen mit allem Schluss machen’. In: H.J. Bieling and D. Buhr (eds.) Europäische Welten in der Krise. Arbeitsbeziehungen und Wohlfahrtsstaaten im Vergleich. Frankfurt am Main: Campus-Verl., pp. 165–190.Google Scholar
  22. Hardt, M. and Negri, A. (2012) Declaration. Pittsburgh: Argo-Navis.Google Scholar
  23. Horn, L. (2012) Anatomy of a ‘Critical Friendship’: Organized labour and the European State Formation. Globalizations 9(4): 577–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Huke, N. (2016) Krisenproteste in Spanien: Zwischen Selbstorganisation und Überfall auf die Institutionen. Münster: edition assemblage.Google Scholar
  25. Huke, N. Clua-Losada, M. and Bailey, D.J. (2015) Disrupting the European Crisis: A critical political economy of contestation, subversion and escape. New Political Economy 20(5): 725–751.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Huke, N. and Tietje, O. (2014) Zwischen Kooperation und Konfrontation. Machtressourcen und Strategien der spanischen Gewerkschaften CCOO und UGT in der Eurokrise. Industrielle Beziehungen 21(4): 371–389.Google Scholar
  27. Ince, A., Featherstone, D., Cumbers, A., MacKinnon, D. and Strauss, K. (2015) British jobs for British workers? Negotiating work, nation, and globalisation through the Lindsey Oil Refinery disputes. Antipode 47(1): 139–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jackson, A.Y. and Mazzei, L.A. (2012) Thinking with theory in qualitative research: Viewing data across multiple perspectives. Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Katsiaficas, G. (2006) The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life. Oakland, CA: AK Press.Google Scholar
  30. Kawalerowicz, J. and Biggs, M. (2015) Anarchy in the UK: Economic deprivation, social disorganization, and political grievances in the London Riot of 2011. Social Forces 94(2): 673–698.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kern, A. Marien, S. and Hooghe, M. (2015) Economic crisis and levels of political participation in Europe (2002–2010): The role of resources and grievances. West European Politics 38(3): 465–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kiersey, N. (2014) Occupy Dame Street as slow-motion general strike? Justifying optimism in the wake of Ireland’s failed multitudinal moment. Global Discourse 4(2–3): 141–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kriesi, H. and Pappas, T.S. (eds.) (2015) European Populism in the Shadow of the Great Recession. Colchester: ECPR Press.Google Scholar
  34. Lewis, P., Newburn, T. and Roberts, D. (2011) Reading the Riots: Investigating England’s Summer of Disorder. London: Guardian/LSE.Google Scholar
  35. Lonkila, M. (2017) Social network sites and political governance in Russia. In: V. Gel’man (ed.) Authoritarian Modernization in Russia: Ideas, Institutions and Policies. London: Routledge (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  36. López, S. Martínez, X. and Toret, J. (2008) Las oficinas de derechos sociales: experiencias de organización y enunciación política en el tiempo de la precariedad. http://eipcp.net/transversal/0508/lopezetal/es/print.
  37. Macías, C. (2013) Del empoderamiento a la autotutela de derechos: El caso de la PAH. El Viejo Topo 306(307): 45–48.Google Scholar
  38. Marien, S. Hooghe, M. and Quintelier, E. (2010) Inequalities in non-institutionalised forms of political participation: A multi-level analysis of 25 countries. Political Studies 58(1): 187–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mudde, C. (2004) The populist Zeitgeist. Government and Opposition 39(4): 542–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Papadopoulos, D. Stephenson, N. and Tsianos, V. (2008) Escape routes: Control and subversion in the 21st century. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  41. Pasquinelli, M. (2014) To anticipate and accelerate: Italian operaismo and reading Marx’s notion of the organic composition of capitalism. Rethinking Marxism 26(2): 178–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Paulsen, R. (2014) Empty Labor: Idleness and workplace resistance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Paulsen, R. (2015) Non-work at work: Resistance or what? Organization 22(3): 351–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Przeworski, A. (2008) Conquered or Granted? A history of suffrage extensions. British Journal of Political Science 39: 291–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Roos, J.E. and Oikonomakis, L. (2013) We are Everywhere! The Autonomous Roots of the Real Democracy Movement’ paper delivered at 7th annual ECPR general conference: ‘Comparative Perspectives on the New Politics of Dissent’ Democracy of the Squares: Visions and Practices of Democracy from Egypt to the US, Sciences Po Bordeaux, September 4–7, 2013. Available: https://www.academia.edu/4342422/The_Autonomous_Roots_of_the_Real_Democracy_Movement.
  46. Roper, B.S. (2013) The history of democracy: A Marxist interpretation. London: Pluto.Google Scholar
  47. Scholl, C. (2013) Two sides of a Barricade: Dis)order and Summit Protest in Europe. New York: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  48. Scott, J.C. (1990) Domination and the arts of resistance: Hidden transcripts. Yale: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Shibata, S. (2015) Resisting Japan’s neoliberal model of capitalism: Intensification and change in contemporary patterns of class struggle. British Journal of Industrial Relations. doi:10.1111/bjir.12149.Google Scholar
  50. Tronti, M. (1964) Lenin in England. Classe Operaia 1, January 1964. Available: www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/it/tronti.htm.
  51. Tyler, I. (2013) Revolting subjects: Social abjection and resistance in neoliberal Britain. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  52. Werts, H. Scheepers, P. and Lubbers, M. (2013) Euro-scepticism and radical right-wing voting in Europe, 2002–2008: Social cleavages, socio-political attitudes and contextual characteristics determining voting for the radical right. European Union Politics 14(2): 183–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wigger, A. (2016) Anarchism as emancipatory theory and praxis: Implications for critical Marxist research. Capital & Class 40(1): 129–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Bailey
    • 1
  • Mònica Clua-Losada
    • 2
  • Nikolai Huke
    • 3
  • Olatz Ribera-Almandoz
    • 4
  • Kelly Rogers
    • 5
  1. 1.POLSISUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK
  2. 2.University of Texas – Rio Grande ValleyEdinburgUSA
  3. 3.University of MarburgMarburgGermany
  4. 4.Universitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.BirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations