The Power of the Powerless (Routledge Revivals): Citizens Against the State in Central-eastern Europe

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View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title This is an English-language anthology of Kurahashi Yumiko's short stories, whose subversive fiction defies established definitions of "literature", "Japan", "modernity" and "femininity", and represents an important intellectual aspect of modern Japanese women's literature.

Buy New Learn more about this copy. About AbeBooks. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Routledge, Hardcover. Routledge, Softcover. Search for all books with this author and title. Austerity policies have taken similar form in different countries of tightened eligibility requirements for state benefits, private provision of some benefits areas, lowered benefit rates — outright or by capping annual increases below the rate of inflation — and removal of some benefits altogether. Other common austerity measures include declining social protection and reduced investment in health, education, housing, care and community development services.

The social consequences of state change and resulting austerity policies have exacerbated existing gender and racial inequalities. Many scholars show that women are more likely to depend on public services, work in public sector jobs and need state benefits. MacLeavy highlights how cutbacks in state spending present a particular challenge to the financial security and autonomy of women in Britain, who are subject both to large benefit cuts and the changes to public services.

In Ireland, Keane et al. The effects of marginalisation from changes in the welfare state are also bound up with race and it is often the extent of inter-sectionality between race, gender and class which shapes the size of the impact. Many researchers examine the extent to which race, class and gender reinforce disadvantage in benefits, income and public services under a restructured welfare regime. In the USA, changes to the benefit system, together with severe cutbacks in the public sector workforce, have a disproportionate effect on women, and particularly ethnic minority women who rely more on state benefits and comprise a larger share of the public sector workforce Christensen, Thus, many low-income minority women have experienced increased financial and social precarity.

Debates around race and changes in the welfare state go beyond the effects of cuts to spending on benefits and public services. Many scholars of the US political economy trace the roots of contemporary urban fiscal crisis to longer histories of persistent racial and class inequality, discrimination and deindustrialisation. For example, Hohle argues that due in part to the history of local struggles over race, the welfare state in the USA was displaced and rescaled upward from the state to the national level during the Keynesian period.

Black residential clustering and spatial isolation are powerful predictors of foreclosures across USA Rugh and Massey, It has been argued that the financial crisis itself was a highly racialised process linked to histories of housing segregation and discrimination Wyly et al, Dymski et al. Thus, race becomes an important lens through which to examine the shrinking state, the rise of neo-liberalism, and the fading of redistributive politics.


Other impacts of changes to the redistributional state reflect the power, control and the nature of democracy. A number of scholars have pointed to the shift in power away from democratic control and public accountability under austerity policies Clifton et al. Clifton et al. They highlight the constant tension between the ability of these institutions to demand austerity policies in return for financial aid versus the sense of imposition, lack of local autonomy and frustration of the local democratic process.

The crisis in legitimacy and its urban nature is also illustrated in other cases. Although UK cities and regions cannot go through a legal process of bankruptcy, in , Northamptonshire County Council became the first local government in the contemporary era of austerity to issue a Section notice — which stops all spending at the local scale, except for statutory spending required by the national government — effectively going bankrupt.

The national government played a large role in this — both reducing grant support and capping council tax rises Gray and Barford, This in effect, replaces by national fiat, the complicated and contested nature of local spending priorities at the scale of local government, displacing local democratic processes with rule-based decisions limiting spending to the most basic level. Many link globalisation and the uneven nature of the economic recovery to explain popular resentment and the legitimation crisis of the state: here, the failure of successive neo-liberal projects to deliver prosperity and the fading of the redistributive functions of the state play an important role Essletzbichler et al.

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Research on the rise of contemporary populism, outside of political science, is still dominated by economic explanations Gordon, While studies analysing the importance of regional GDP and regional unemployment rates as indicators of regional disparity are common, few scrutinise indicators of the changing functions of the state. An exception is the study by Essletzbichler et al.

The authors examine the interaction between the supply of and demand for public services and welfare benefits and their effects on the populist right-wing vote. They find that, along with migration, higher losses in benefits had one of the largest positive effects on the regional vote for Brexit. In summary, places and populations have been profoundly affected by the impacts of state change. The consequences range from growing economic hardships and socio-spatial inequalities to the more recent turn towards right-wing populism. First, a more holistic understanding of the meaning and significance of recent changes in the state is needed to move research forward.

As we show, studies addressing state-retreat are fragmented across different bodies of literature. While there is often empirical overlap, a unifying theoretical umbrella is yet to emerge, particularly as applied to the actions and impacts of the subnational state.

The Power of the Powerless (Routledge Revivals) door Vaclav Havel (Boek) -

While radical political economy has long offered a base for such theorising e. Jessop, , it has only been integrated selectively into empirical accounts of state-retreat, and its insights are in continual need for updating as the path of contemporary capitalism becomes more convoluted. Second, new sources of data are needed to improve the current evidence base. Drawing any firm conclusions about state change is inherently limited by the lack of systematic, quality data, especially when applied to the subnational state. As Gray and Barford note, the problem ranges from simple bureaucratic differences in how local government data are collected to potentially deliberate political efforts to obscure hardship and inequality generated by retrenchment and austerity.

This makes it difficult to assess both trends and causal questions about state-retreat, including its geographic and political foundations. Bruch and White draw from original longitudinal data on US states to assess changes in social programmes; in contrast to assumptions about widespread spending cuts, they find cutbacks were largely confined to cash-assistance welfare, while other programmatic areas have changed little or even expanded.

Between Past and Future

In the case of the UK, Gray and Barford utilise a new series of data on local governments to identify systematic trends. They find that across-the-board national cuts in spending have geographically uneven effects, falling most heavily on local areas whose populations are more economically disadvantaged. Nation-states are characterised by varying degrees of uneven development and historical paths of devolution which fragment the state as an institution and create divergence among local states.

Gray and Barford , for example, note how the Scottish and Welsh national assemblies have been more successful in buffering local governments from central government cuts. Empirical accounts are needed that are sensitive to the nuances of state change and how local and regional political economic context can modify the degree of state retreat and its impacts.

Power of the Powerless (Political Oppression)

In the case of the housing sector in the UK, for example, Murie explains that a complex pattern of change has emerged where there is a smaller but still significant degree of public sector involvement and an expanded voluntary sector involvement, with the result that the housing market remains relatively decommodified. Finally, the forces that might counteract state-retreat need greater scrutiny. At present, there is much to be pessimistic about.

In the USA, the labour movement has been in protracted decline and the promise of civil society long eroded. Yet, the nation is large and there are points of resistance such as among some local governments Kim and Warner, and states Bruch and White, There are also some glimmers of hope in the success of the Fight for 15 the movement for a 15 dollar-an-hour or living wage, which has been adopted by states, such as New York. In the EU more enlightened governing elites and stronger unions still offer a broader geographic band of resistance. Examples might include the success of Podemos in Spain.

Can the energy that comes to populism be channelled into more progressive forms of governance? Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.

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Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Contents. The shrinking state: debating the lines of public sector change. State change and retreat: taking stock of the impacts. New directions for research. The shrinking state? Understanding the assault on the public sector Linda Lobao. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Mia Gray. Gray geog. Kevin Cox. Michael Kitson. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions.

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