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What are the conditions under which the meaning of the signifier “austerity” might be reworked for environmental ends? Could the concept of “austerity” describe a mode of living that is compatible with the challenges of working towards transition and degrowth? This chapter considers what can be learnt from the UK context, in which social actors in environmental and transition politics have—since the early 2000s—elaborated a concept of “eco-austerity”. This has been achieved via the mobilization of a particular historical period as symbolic resource: the period 1939–1954, an era widely known as “austerity Britain”. Through an evaluation of this activity, the chapter identifies the significant challenges presented by a project of recasting the meaning of the signifier “austerity”, as well as the possibilities for alternative future-making that may yet be associated with this concept.
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- Austerity Pasts, Austerity Futures?
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Chapter 5
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