Austerity and the Undermining of Democracy

  • Ilona BuchrothEmail author
  • Linda Hetherington


In this chapter the case will be made that under austerity, neoliberalist tendencies have impacted on opportunities for equal participation in democratic processes by promoting a discourse constructing inequalities as acceptable. Drawing on the concept of group-focused enmity (GFE) (Heitmeyer and Mansel, Deutshce Zustaende, Frankfurt, Suhrkamp, 2008) the chapter will outline how hostile attitudes towards groups present as a wider societal ‘syndrome’ that is not the prerogative of right-wing extremist groups. The second strand of the chapter will explore how austerity has impacted on associational structures and public forms of engagement. It will be shown how austerity has impacted on voluntary organisations, and how ‘the market’ affects their capacity to challenge the prevailing discourse, curtails opportunities develop an independent voice and ‘speak truth to power’.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SunderlandSunderlandUK

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