© 2018

Narratives of Difference in an Age of Austerity


Part of the Thinking Gender in Transnational Times book series (THINKGEN)

Table of contents

About this book


This book traces the narrative strategies framing austerity policies through an illuminating analysis of policy documents and political discourses, exposing the political consequences for women, racialized minorities and disabled people. While many have critiqued the ways in which austerity has captured the contemporary political narrative, this is the first book to systematically examine how these narratives work to shift the terms within which policy debates about inequality and difference play out. Gedalof’s exceptional readings of these texts pay close attention to the formal qualities of these narratives: the chronologies they impose, their articulation of crisis and resolution, the points of view they construct and the affective registers they deploy. In this manner she argues persuasively that the differences of gender, race, ethnicity and disability have been stitched into the fabric of austerity as excesses that must be disavowed, as reproductive burdens that are too great for the austere state to bear. This innovative, intersectional analysis will appeal to students and scholars of social policy, gender studies, politics and public policy.


austerity policy equality policy neo-liberalism welfare reform the Big Society political grammar Social Justice social model of disability uk coalition government 2010 Theresa May David Cameron Iain Duncan Smith migrant family family policy Integration Policy Localism policy framing

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social SciencesLondon Metropolitan UniversityLondonUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Irene Gedalof is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at London Metropolitan University and a member of the Feminist Review editorial collective. 

Bibliographic information


“An urgent reminder of how policy seeks to make us 'feel' - and feel that there is no way out from inequality and injustice. The narrative of austerity may be changing, but the technique remains. Read this to understand how popular emotion can become a tool of the state, because if we see it we can change it.” (Gargi Bhattacharyya, author of Crisis, Austerity and Everyday Life, Professor of Sociology, University of East London, UK)

“Applying techniques of narrative analysis to policy documents and the legislative agenda of the Conservative-led Coalition government, this innovative text provides an intricate, penetrating and incisive investigation into the ways in which political discourse sets the terms for broader socio-political, economic and cultural debates about difference and (in)equality. Critical analysis at its best.” (Avtar Brah, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK)