Managing the social impacts of austerity Britain: the cultural politics of neo-liberal ʼnudging’

Emma L. Briant, Steven Harkins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Contemporary austerity has been supported by state interventionism which attempts to build personal responsibility and deflect the responsibility away from government and the failures of capitalism. The mainstream media coverage complemented the UK Government's ideological and policy apparatus in endorsing claims that benefit recipients were impeding global recovery and justifying massive reforms and a new wave of social interventionism. This chapter explains that Gramsci's concept of hegemony which can help in understanding why and how the 'common-sense' ideology of personal rather than state responsibility was supported in media coverage. The cultural politics of neo-liberal 'nudging' – evidenced in discourse and persuasion tactics – can further be evidenced in the way scapegoats emerge from media discourse in relation to the liberal notion of 'individual responsibility' across the cultural landscape. Media representations have an impact on how the public understand poverty.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural Politics in the Age of Austerity
EditorsDavid Berry
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781317156284
ISBN (Print)9781472434883
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Cite this