Austerity: local and global

Austerity:  local and global

Humanities in Public, MMU

27th April 2016, 70 Oxford St. M1 (the old Cornerhouse Building)

As poverty, inequality and precarious employment spread across the globe, the word ‘austerity’ has been transformed in academic and political discourse from a description of temporary hardship, into a political and economic neoliberal agenda. Is austerity really the only long-term future? Is it merely a temporary hiccup in global /local policies? How can we bring into being, another and more equal world?

Austerity MMU 2016 brings together a panel of scholars from a diverse range of disciplines to explore the origins, local and international formats, and potential trajectories of the austerity agenda. With keynote presentations from Prof. Guy Standing (SOAS), Prof. Sylvia Chant (LSE) and Prof. Raymond Tallis (University of Manchester), this promises to be a lively and informative conference. The event will also feature a postgraduate and activist panel, including a guest speaker from the Manchester People’s Assembly.

Flat fee charge is £5, including coffees/teas and snacks.

Please register for the event at:


The anticipated schedule for the day is below:

2:00-4:45  Postgraduate and activist panel:

2:00-2:05      Welcome

2:05 -2:20   Steph Pike, Manchester People’s Assembly

2:20-2:35    Emma Bimpson (Univ. of Leeds)

“Moral and Political Economies of Welfare – Contesting directions in Local Housing”

2:35-2:50    Jon Las Heras (Univ. of Manchester)

“The Insubordination of a Basque Trade Union:  Collective Bargaining Strategies in the

Automotive Value Chain”

2:50-3:05   Sam Strong (Cambridge University)

“Shameful Subsistence:  Encountering the lived experiences of austerity at the Food Bank”

3:05-3:25     Discussion


3:25-3:45    BREAK/ teas + coffees


3:45-4:00    Rowan Sandle (Leeds Beckett University)

“The Psychological Cost of Austerity:  a Focus on Lone Motherhood – Experiences and Representations”

4:00-4:15    Brigitte Lechner:

“Activism and Solidarity:  the Campaign for the Stockport Wellbeing Centre”

4:15-4:30    Dr. John David Jordan (Manchester Metropolitan Univ.)
“Welfare’s Austerity Regime?  Exploring Ideology and Reality in the UK Government’s

‘Work  Programme’”

4:30-4:45    Discussion

4:45-5:45  break/ snacks


Evening session:  5:45-8:00 pm

          Prof. Raymond Tallis (Univ. of Manchester)

“The Dismantling of the NHS: from Lord Howe’s Wicked Dream to George Osborne’s   Austerity”

Prof. Sylvia Chant (Geography, the LSE)

“Questioning the ‘Feminisation of Poverty’ in the Global South, and the Wisdom of Feminised Anti-poverty Policy Approaches”

Prof. Guy Standing (SOAS) The Precariat: Why Rentiers thrive and Work does not Pay”

7:30- 8:00    Discussion



Prof. Guy Standing

Guy Standing is Professor of Development Studies at SOAS (London).  He is a co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network, which campaigns for universal basic income for all; he served as Director of the Socio-Economic Security Programme of the ILO between 1999-2006.  A major theme of his current work is the emergence of a new class of worker – the ‘precariat’ – characterised by ‘flexible’, intermittent and insecure employment conditions. He has served as consultant to many policy bodies (e.g. the EU; the ITUC; UNRISD; DfID in the UK) as well as to government in South Africa and elsewhere.  His most recent books, published by Bloomsbury Academic, are Basic Income: A Transformative Policy for India  (written with S. Davala, R. Jbabvala and S. Kapoor, 2015), A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens (2014) andThe Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (2011).

Prof. Sylvia Chant
Sylvia Chant is Professor of Development Geography, the LSE.  Prof. Chant is a global expert on gendered poverty and has consulted for a number of international agencies including the UNDP; UNICEF, the ILO and ECLA.  She has conducted research in Mexico, Costa Rica, the Philippines and the Gambia, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.  Among her many authored and edited books are:  Women-Headed Households (Macmillan, 1997); Gender in Latin America (with Nikki Craske) (Lat Am Bureau, 2003); Gender, Generation and Poverty (Elgar, 2007) and editorship of two different 4-volume collections on gender and poverty – the latter (Gender, Poverty and Development) published by Routledge, 2015.  Cities, Slums and Gender (with Cathy McIlwane, Routledge) is forthcoming in 2016.

Prof. Raymond Tallis

Professor Raymond Tallis is a prominent campaigner against privatisation of the NHS and is co-editor of NHS SOS, a critique of the Health and Social Care Act 2013. He is author of  three volumes of poetry, 23 books of philosophy, literary theory and cultural criticism and two medical textbooks. Prof Tallis was professor of geriatric medicine at Manchester University and  Consultant Advisor in Health Care of the Elderly to the Chief Medical Officer. He has held many national roles advising on gerontology and public health and is is a patron of Dignity in Dying.  His latest publication is The Dark Mirror (2015) is a reflection on the process of dying.


Organiser:  Dr. Susie Jacobs, Reader in Comparative Sociology


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