Gramsci, austerity common sense and the attacks on the welfare state: The need to understand and resist the imposition of the global neoliberal agenda and the role of the social work profession.

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

    Abstract

    During the last 30 years governments almost everywhere in the world are furthering a global neoliberal agenda by withdrawing the state from the delivery of services, decreasing social spending and lowering corporate taxation etc. This restructuring has led to a massive transfer of wealth from the welfare state and working class people into capital. In order to legitimize this restructuring conservative governments engage in collective blaming towards their denizens. This presentation will examine some of the well circulated phrases that have been used by the dominant elite in some countries during the last year to legitimize the imposition of austerity measures. Phrases such as, ‘We all partied’ used by the Irish finance minister, Brian Lenihan, to explain the Irish crisis and collectively blame all Irish people, ‘We must all share the pain’, deployed by another Irish Minister Gilmore and the UK coalition administration’s sound bite ‘We are all in this together’, legitimize the imposition of austerity measures. Utilizing the Gramscian concept of common sense (Gramsci, 1971), I call these phrases ‘austerity common sense’. They are austerity common sense because they both reflect and legitimate the austerity agenda. By deploying these phrases, the ruling economic and political elite seek to influence the perception of the people and pre-empt any intention of resistance. The dominant theme of these phrases is that there is no alternative and that austerity measures are somehow self-inflicted and, as such, should not be challenged because we are all to blame. The purpose of this presentation is to explore the “austerity common sense” theme from a Gramscian approach, focus on its implications for the social work profession and discuss the ways to resist the imposition of the global neoliberal agenda.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event5th International Conference on Critical Social Work and Sociology - UK, Chester, United Kingdom
    Duration: 26 Aug 201527 Feb 2016

    Conference

    Conference5th International Conference on Critical Social Work and Sociology
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    CityChester
    Period26/08/201527/02/2016

    Keywords

    • Austerity, Welfare Retrechment, Resistance, Social Work Profession

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