Roundtable: ‘Occupying Politics in a Time of Austerity’

This roundtable marked the beginning of a project entitled Many Voices, Many Politics: Locating Politics across the Disciplinary Spectrum exploring the topic of socio-political change. It was conducted on 6th November 2013.

You can listen to a recording of the roundtable here: or if you wish to listen to the roundtable later click here to download it as an mp3.

The opening roundtable focused on the political upheaval of recent years linked to the first theme of austerity.  Recently the socio-political sphere was forced into an(other) encounter with the language of crisis. Politics became pre-occupied with emergency discourse and the necessity of rigid austerity measures. This encounter seems to have imprisoned political discourse and robbed it of its imagination to think and act politics otherwise (in ways other than the existing bureaucratic processes or managerial policies). This first interdisciplinary roundtable discussion engaged with the impact the crisis has had on the subjects of humanities and the field of socio-political order(ing) broadly defined; it focused on the politics of austerity and discussed, on the one hand, the impact of austerity on academic as well as on social life, and on the other hand, it considered (and searched for) alternative political, social and economic responses to austerity politics.

“We had an exciting panel who spoke for 10 minutes each drawing on their expertise in areas including: the ethics of consumption and ecofeminism; popular economic discourse and the great depression; contemporary Greek politics; ethnography; and the narratives of the protest. Panellists each engaged with several questions from the following: ‘how has austerity politics changed and reshaped the socio-political spectrum?’; ‘What are its implications for the way we understand social and political life today?’; ‘How has it reshaped the existing power-structures?’; ‘What socio-political changes and power-structures did it introduce?’; and finally, but not any less importantly ‘How can we contest or oppose its practices and discourses?’ and ‘What are possible alternatives’?
Marco Monterzino – Artist
Dimitris Papadimitriou – Politics, School of Social Studies, University of Manchester
Chris Godden – History, School of Arts, Languages and Culture, University of Manchester 
Niamh Moore – Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change, University of Manchester
Sarah Marie Hall, Geography, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester 

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