Austerity and the Public Role of Drama

Performing Lives-in-Common

  • Victor Merriman

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Neo-liberalism’s Political and Moral Economic Project: The End of Public Life?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Victor Merriman
      Pages 11-43
    3. Victor Merriman
      Pages 45-61
  3. Performance, the Academy, and the Politics of Austerity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 63-63
    2. Victor Merriman
      Pages 65-84
    3. Victor Merriman
      Pages 101-125
    4. Victor Merriman
      Pages 141-168
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 169-175

About this book


This book asks what, if any, public role drama might play under Project Austerity – an intensification phase of contemporary liberal political economy. It investigates the erosion of public life in liberal democracies, and critiques the attention economy of deficit culture, by which austerity erodes life-in-common in favour of narcissistic performances of life-in-public. It argues for a social order committed to human flourishing and deliberative democracy, as a counterweight to the political economy of austerity. It demonstrates, using examples from England, Ireland, Italy, and the USA, that drama and the academy pursue shared humane concerns; the one, a critical art form, the other, a social enabler of critical thought and progressive ideas. A need for dialogue with emergent forms of collective consciousness, new democratic practices and institutions, shapes a manifesto for critical performance, which invites universities and cultural workers to join other social actors in imagining and enabling ethical lives-in-common.


Austerity Globalisation Neoliberalism Jim Nolan Gender Race Class Performance Politics Economics Reverend Billy Talen Dario Fo Franca Rame Giacopo Fo

Authors and affiliations

  • Victor Merriman
    • 1
  1. 1.Edge Hill UniversityOrmskirk, LancashireUK

Bibliographic information