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Living Against AusterityA Feminist Investigation of Doing Activism and Being Activist$
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Emma Craddock

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529205701

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529205701.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

The Affective, the Normative and the Everyday: Exploring What Motivates and Sustains Anti-Austerity Activism

The Affective, the Normative and the Everyday: Exploring What Motivates and Sustains Anti-Austerity Activism

Chapter:
(p.69) 4 The Affective, the Normative and the Everyday: Exploring What Motivates and Sustains Anti-Austerity Activism
Source:
Living Against Austerity
Author(s):

Emma Craddock

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781529205701.003.0004

This chapter explores what motivates and sustains anti-austerity activism within the context of continued austerity. It affirms the centrality of the affective and normative dimensions of political engagement by demonstrating that anti-austerity activism is motivated and sustained by three core elements; emotion, morality and relationship. Individuals are motivated by an emotional response to perceived injustice combined with normative ideals about how society should be and how we should act in relation to others. They utilise notions of humanity and empathy to combat the dehumanising effect of neoliberal capitalism and its focus on individualism and competition. Participants translate such abstract, universal concepts into concrete, particular actions through a focus on everyday activism and individual choices. Rather than an outright rejection of individualism, participants seek to redefine it in ways that move away from the dominant neoliberal understanding and towards reconciling the individual with the wider collective and common good. Here, activism is conceptualised as a moral duty. Participants therefore suggest that everyone and anyone can and should do activism, with small acts making a difference. This chapter begins to unpick the ways in which activists resist, subvert and sometimes unwittingly reinforce neoliberal capitalism, as well as questioning the problematic distinction drawn between ‘non-activist’ and ‘activist’.

Keywords:   Emotion, Morality, Relationship, Austerity, Activism, Individualism, Collectivism, Neoliberal capitalism, Activist

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