David Bailey, University of Birmingham

23 October 2018

The political economy literature has tended to underplay the role of anti-austerity protest in understanding contemporary capitalism. When anti-austerity protest is considered it is often depicted as either a dependent or an independent variable; whereas really a more accurate account would consider it to be both. The approach developed in this talk therefore discusses the way in which anti-austerity protest has, and might be, considered in relation to contemporary capitalism. It focuses especially on the development of different forms of anti-austerity protest as they have emerged in advanced industrial democracies in the post-2008 context. In doing so, it tries to show how we can understand these instances of dissent as both generated by, and generative of, developments within contemporary advanced capitalism; and thereby attempts to deal with some of the more general problems of integrating protest within theories of political economy. In doing so, the paper provides an overview of the concrete role of anti-austerity protest in the different political economies of the UK, US, Germany, Spain and Japan.


David J. Bailey is a senior lecturer in the University of Birmingham. His research and teaching focus on left parties, protest movements, and political economy, and the relationship between each of these, usually within the European context. He recently published a co-authored book, Beyond Defeat and Austerity: Disrupting (the critical political economy of) Neoliberal Europe, with the Routledge/RIPE Series in Global Political Economy, and has recent articles in British Journal of Political Science, New Political Economy, Comparative European Politics, and Socio-Economic Review. He is the vice-chair of the Critical Political Economy Research Network of the European Sociological Association; book reviews editor for the journal, Capital and Class; and the review essays editor for Comparative European Politics.

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