Panel 27

Whither austerity? Persistent issues and ephemeral debates

Panel 27 / Quarto Convegno Nazionale SIAC “Il ritorno del sociale”, Sapienza Università di Roma, 21-22-23 settembre 2023

Proponenti: Antonio Maria Pusceddu (Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia), Antonio Vesco (Università di Catania)


In the past decade, following the 2008 financial meltdown, austerity dominated the scene of macroeconomic and social policy responses towards economic recovery. Far from being a novelty, austerity and structural adjustment already had a long history of economic theorization and painful application the world over. Yet, it was mainly in the past decade that austerity appeared across the anthropological spectrum, stimulating a number of debates on time, the state, social reproduction, debt, dispossession, conflict, solidarity, moralities, political ecology, social engineering, prefigurative politics, populism, the commons and political transformation. Many of these debates were time-responsive attempts to decipher (ethnographically and theoretically) the fast-changing political, economic and social scenarios, and the broader implications of austerity at large. This panel aims to retrieve and discuss past debates on austerity, with the aim of reframing and reassessing their topicality or irrelevance for the present. We invite ethnographically and theoretically informed contributions that address and critically revisit the broad range of issues related to the anthropologies of austerity, to austerity at large, to its persistence or legacies. Our broader aim is to solicit critical reflections on the tension between perdurance and ephemerality of anthropological reflections, thus framing “the return of the social” in the wider social and political tensions that shape our discipline.

Keywords: austerity, crisis, politics, temporality, theorization

Lingue accettate: Italiano / English

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