CfPs: Encountering Austerity sponsored session by SCGRG and Economic Geography Research Group

Please see the info below about a SCGRG and Economic Geography Research Group (EGRG) sponsored session for the forthcoming RGS conference.


‘Encountering Austerity’ 

Call for Papers – RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, London, 30 August – 2 September 2016

Sponsors: Social and Cultural Geography Research Group (SCGRG); Economic Geography Research Group (EGRG)


Ruth Raynor (Durham University) Esther Hitchen (Durham University) 

This panel seeks to explore the multiple and networked relations of austerity (however conceptualized) by considering how austerity is encountered in everyday life. What are the specific relations between austerity and partly connected social-spatial formations and processes for example family and friendships, banking and debt, housing, organisations of paid and unpaid work? How is the spatiality of the everyday made and remade in relation to austerity, in parks, staff rooms, homes, a twitter feed, through an atmosphere or mood and so on? And how might we engage with how austerity is felt or (or not) as a series of encounters across multiple spaces? How does austerity effect (interrupt, suspend, intensify or disassemble) existing infrastructures, ideologies and processes that meet and fold into everyday life? When do the effects of austerity fail to register as austerity in or beyond their scene or moment of encounter and why? By paying attention to austerity’s entanglement with other processes and formations in the everyday, this session will explore its multiplicity, its incoherence, its moments of consolidation, its temporal, rhythmic and affective life.

Relatedly, we seek papers that consider how anti-austerity activism works or attempts to work as a strategy of consolidation to produce shared encounters with austerity. If austerity is entangled in other formations and processes, how to practice critique in relation to it? How to research and/ or represent austerity even as it is lived as a series of fragmented and fragmenting forces, as it constitutes and sometimes hides the unravelling of existing sites or scenes, becoming, for example, an empty staff room, a pre-emptive strategy that wasn’t enacted, or a form of continuation amidst privatisation? Conversely, when and/or how is austerity related to in everyday life as a shared event, as a political ideology, and/or as a centrally implemented fiscal strategy? What happens when it produces sites and scenes, for example food-banks, abandoned development projects, or queues outside of financial institutions?

In the first session we will call for work that engages with how the cuts and reforms of austerity are encountered amidst other flows and networks that constitute everyday life. In the second session we will think more about how this informs, challenges and folds into an anti-austerity politics, including research, creative practice and other forms of activism. In each session we will take four twenty- minute presentations with time for questions. We will welcome conventional papers and non-traditional exploratory presentation formats from academics and artists including performative writings, presentations, demonstrations of artistic work. Possible themes could address but are by no means limited to:

– Austerity as atmospheric affective, and/or emotive,
– Everyday geographies of the austere state,
– Public cultures of austerity,
– The sexual politics of austerity,
– Paid and unpaid labour amidst austerity,
– Family life, friendships, and the home in austere times,
– Intersectionality and austerity,
– Public services and other spaces of welfare provision,
– Researching austerity as a series of encounters including forms of disassembly and/or transformation,
– Cyber and other everyday forms activism,
– Creative encounters with austerity including narrative, film,  photography, street performance.


Please e-mail abstracts (250 words max) with full details to Ruth Raynor and Esther Hitchen before the 10th February.