One decade after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), austerity cuts continue to devastate communities. As well as highlight the architects of austerity and the political decisions underlying fiscal discipline, this talk will consider the assemblage of bureaucracies and institutions through which austerity policies are made real. Not only do institutions help to convert policies from an abstract level to a material one, they are the very sites through which highly political strategies, like austerity, are de-politicised and their harmful effects made to appear normal and mundane. The routine order and administration involved in, for example, seeking asylum or determining whether a person is eligible for full housing support, can have lasting and damaging effects whereby the failure to properly support people exacerbates and reproduces other violent circumstances in their lives. These routine administration practices are not always understood as violent; but they are.
This talk will explore concepts of “structural violence,” “institutional violence,” and “slow violence” to think about the ways in which violence manifests in the lives of those affected by austerity.
Dr Vickie Cooper is a Lecturer in Criminology and Co-Director of Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC) at The Open University. Vickie’s research looks at the hidden effects of housing inequality and homelessness, including the eviction risk facing low income households and the criminalisation of homeless groups. She is currently researching the relationship between austerity, welfare reforms and housing inequality.
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