You are here

  1. Home
  2. Comment and Debate

Comment and Debate

‘I love the smell of austerity in the morning’, 01 September 2013, Jawad Qasrawi

This page features points for debate and comments on developments in the project area, of between 100 and 1000 words. Postings here may include reflections on news reports, notes towards further scholarly investigations, records of relevant everyday experiences, reviews of suggestive performances and artefacts, and so on. The emphasis in these is on analysis and criticism; no endorsements or publicity material will feature here. 

Responses to and comments on these are welcome from all, and will be posted. These should be sent to

Authors, and not the project moderators, are responsible for the views expressed in postings and comments and for checking sources and evidence cited.


The Underperformance of White Working-Class Students (6)

Suman Gupta, May 2016

The connotations of saying “white working-class students” when feeling troubled about their performance in schools relative to ethnic minorities – that is, of using the phrase “white working class” in such contexts – needs a bit of unpacking.

The Underperformance of White Working-Class Students (5)

Suman Gupta, May 2016

The British working-class (white or not), especially post-war, cannot simply be thought of as poor – as necessarily partaking of compensatory social benefits and resources...

The Underperformance of White Working-Class Students (4)

Suman Gupta, May 2016

The principles of Equal Opportunities legislation and regulation in Britain are not necessarily clear to those concerned about the lot of the white working-class, especially when that is linked to prevailing “multiculturalist” policies.

The Underperformance of White Working-Class Students (3)

Suman Gupta, May 2016

Here’s another table ... The only thing it indicates unambiguously is that income background has a correlation to performance ...

The Underperformance of White Working-Class Students (2)

Suman Gupta, May 2016

To carry on with that argument, let’s pause on statistical matters … In this posting I take the statistical parameters (of ethnicity and class) as they are given, without quibbling with them.

The Underperformance of White Working-Class Students (1)

Suman Gupta, May 2016

A gradually intensifying concern has been rumbling in British news media since around 2010, to do with the underperformance of white working-class students ...

Protest Suicide and the Function of Art

Suman Gupta, February 2016

I watched two short films about protest suicides recently. 

Suicide-Rates and the Financial Crisis

Suman Gupta, January 2016

Various papers have appeared on the relationship between rising suicide-rates and the 2008-onwards financial crisis. These are found principally in medical and psychiatric and public...

Football, Politics and Crisis in Greece

Theodoros A. Spyros, Yiannis Balabanidis, November 2015

The 5 July 2015 referendum in Greece on the conditions for bailouts led to a great mobilization of groups supporting "yes" or "no" votes...

“Fuck the Poor” Video

Suman Gupta, September 2015

A short “Fuck the Poor” video went viral on social media in 2014 and consequently received many awards...

Who Says “Austerity”

Suman Gupta, August 2015

The connotations and resonances of the word “austerity”, so prolifically used amidst expressions of disenchantment at present...

Who is George Osborne?: On Selling Our RBS Shares

Suman Gupta, August 2015

Who is George Osborne? This is not an existential question. He might be a human being or a hologram or a ventriloquist’s dummy...

Management, ‘leadership’, and academic work

Daniel Allington, August 2015

In a powerful essay cheekily posted on the website of what may be the UK’s most obsessively corporate university...

Pain Pain Gain Gain – an auto-ethnographic exercise

Mike Hajimichael, July 2015

It is strange at times being an academic and an artist. I have often found myself in these two quite distinct worlds with their very different working timetables and lifestyles...

Dispute between Anti-Nationalist Modernism and Primordialism

Eleni Andriakaina, July 2015

Following the previous post this short comment argues that the debate amidst the crisis over Skai’s anti-nationalist, revisionist history of the 1821 revolution was structured along the lines of modernism/constructivism vs. primordialism. 

From Academia to the Media: the problem of Greece’s Modernity and European Identity

Eleni Andriakaina, July 2015

In 2011, while the causes of Greek crisis started becoming the subject of public controversy, a documentary series aired on Skai channel vowing...

So who can we shoot?

John Seed, July 2015

Early in John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath there’s a confrontation between a dispossessed tenant farmer and a man driving a bulldozer, sent to flatten his farm buildings.

The Greek Referendum and the Princess

Suman Gupta, July 2015

The portals to the contents of today’s newspapers are their front pages. Before delving the small print on these front pages (and then within...

Bulgaria on Greece: Tale of the Virtuous Poor

Milena Katsarska, July 2015

Parents tell children stories to lull them to sleep under the rhythm of feel-good predictability, with the added value of offering a moral formula or two...

Words in Crisis

Suman Gupta, June 2015

Michael Lewis’s book on chicanery in subprime mortgage dealings which underpinned the financial crisis of 2008, The Big Short (2010), offers...

Get Rid of Academic Leadership

Suman Gupta, June 2015

There is no place for leaders in academia.  Insofar as academic work is devoted to understanding the world and...

Two Crisis Novels: A Week in December and Capital

Suman Gupta, June 2015

It is instructive to read Sebastian Faulks’ A Week in December (2009) and John Lanchester’s Capital(2012) one after the other...

Average Person and Ordinary Reader

Suman Gupta, May 2015

These notes concern texts which seek to explain the 2007/8 financial crisis to “average persons”, which are addressed to “ordinary readers”.

On the Busyness of Academics

Suman Gupta, May 2015

Over the last two years I have had occasion to make various requests of 108 academic colleagues from outside my university, in 17 countries – “please participate in this event”...

The “Activist” in General and Blockupy

Suman Gupta, April 2015

Blockupy is part of a European wide network of various social movement activists, altermondialists, migrants, jobless, precarious and industry workers...

Crisis in Higher Education

Micheal O’Flynn, March 2015

The current wave of protest that is taking place in universities around the world relates to the on-going marketisation of higher education....

Background to the Irish Banking Crisis

Terrence McDonough, March 2015

I have reproduced below a slightly edited version of testimony I gave for the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis.

Framing the Bulgarian Year of Protest

Milena Katsarska, March 2015

This develops upon reflections in Suman’s earlier posting, “‘Financial’ or ‘Economic’ Crisis? Note on Protests in Bulgaria” (November 2014), on the “curious paradox"...

The Ongoing Project of Re-Racializing Britain

Satnam Virdee, University of Glasgow, March 2015

After completing my book Racism, Class and the Racialized Outsider (Palgrave 2014), I'm now thinking about how race and class works in the present conjuncture given the deep...

Intellectuals in Crisis: Ivory Tower, Urgency and Public Engagement

Eleni Andriakaina, March 2015

From the onset of the crisis, a number of articles about intellectuals were published in Greek newspapers, followed by numerous comments and posts throughout the media...

Poverty Porn?

Suman Gupta, March 2015

“Poverty porn”:  the phrase has been gaining currency since 2008/2009, and not surprisingly. Its aural qualities and quixotic resonance could be an advertisement guru’s dream...

The Euro Crisis Song or the Crisis as Vehicle for Brand Building

Suman Gupta, February 2015

Is it possible to sing of the financial crisis without political investment? Are there songs referred to the crisis which are not “protest songs” or “anthems”...

“Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead!”: Mrs Thatcher and Yip Harburg

John Seed, February 2015

How can the experience of economic and political collapse find a voice and a language? How can new kinds of language and new kinds of relations between people...

The ANEL Component in the SYRIZA Government

Suman Gupta, February 2015

It is good to see the consternation caused by SYRIZA’s success in Greece’s 2015 elections among neoliberal policy makers (and their media publicists) at both state and transnational levels in the EU.

Questioning Parliamentary Politics and Syriza’s Victory

John Seed, February 2015

A posting on this webpage entitled “Austerity and the European Radical Left Agenda” (November 2014) raises the following questions

Fascistic proclivity, embodiment and health in crisis times

Lee F Monaghan February 2015

This post follows on from an earlier exchange on this webpage, under the posting: Generalizations on Identity Politics in the Present. Suman originally referred to the growing fascicization of the environment under conditions of crisis, with reference to embodiment and identity politics...

Hegemony – from close up

Mike Hajimichael, February 2015 

This week we had a chance to participate in a conference in The European Parliament on “Media coverage of the EU: the way ahead” which generally did not live up to its expectations...

Generalizations on Identity Politics in the Present

Suman Gupta, January 2015

First line: Even amidst social constructionist accounts of identity, a kind of logic of embodiment has come to be habitually subscribed and institutionally embedded…

“Financial” or “Economic” Crisis? Note on Protests in Bulgaria

Suman Gupta, November 2014

First line: Was discussing recent and current protests in Bulgaria with colleagues from there recently, and was given to understand that… 

Austerity and the European Radical Left Agenda

Suman Gupta, November 2014

First line: In a plenary session of 6 November 2014 at the 11th Historical Materialism conference, on “The European Radical Left at the Crossroads”, the following academics-cum-activists were the voice of the European radical left… 

We are very grateful for the use of the image:

'I love the smell of austerity in the morning’, 01 September 2013, © Jawad Qasrawi