Foucault’s Concept of Counter-Conduct and the Politics of Anti-Austerity Protest in Ireland
Since the announcement of the Irish recession in 2008, there has been much media and popular speculation regarding the apparent failure of the Irish people to collectively resist austerity. The socialisation of private banking debt and successive fiscal ‘adjustments’, which have seen huge reductions in public spending, disproportionately impacting on the Irish community and voluntary sector (Harvey, 2012), have not generated sustained opposition from civil society. Apocryphal stories of Greek protesters chanting ‘we are not like Ireland’ or the current Irish Minister for Finance Michael Noonan’s threats to print t-shirts with the slogan ‘We’re not Greece’, belie a more complex reality. Evidently, as Laurence Cox (2012) has observed in this journal ‘responses from working class communities and social movements’ have been ‘minimal’ In the absence of a widely-shared and enacted anti-austerity politics, there have been regular manifestations of localised or sectoralised opposition to welfare retrenchment, service withdrawal, and the introduction of new levies or charges (Allen, 2012). It is important to note, however, that their achievements to date have been variable.
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