Tag Archives: Sociology


Just Managing? and the articulation of Austerity

OBP: Liam Etheridge https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0173.0080

The Independent has recently reported that in autumn this year, the UN Human Rights Investigator Professor Philip Alston will be researching the impact of Tory austerity measures in Britain.[1] The need for such an investigation will come as no surprise to readers of Mark O’Brien and Paul Kyprianou’s hard-hitting study of austerity Britain, Just Managing?.[2] This startling and eminently readable study foregrounds the plight of low-earning families who have been disproportionately affected by the policy agenda that has been pursued over the last three governments. The Coalition of 2010-2015, and the majority and minority Conservative governments that followed, have delivered the exact reverse of what they promised with regards to austerity, originally advertised as impacting the rich more heavily than the poorest in society.[3] In fact, income inequality, and its attendant problems of inflation and unequal distributions of education and healthcare, have increased on an unprecedented scale in recent years.[4] Continue reading

‘Ye shall know them by their fruits’

Mark O’Brien https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0173.0058

Read and download Just Managing? for free here.

“If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly.” (Theresa May; 13 July 2016)

Words are tricky things, and we can all agree that ‘talk is cheap’. It’s not what you say that counts, but what you do. But words can be seductive, and their artful use by the silver-tongued can lead us astray. This is an old warning; very old. Continue reading

It’s the economy, stupid. (Or is it?)


Tyneside-front-coverEveryone thinks they know that poor communities harbour more social problems than rich ones. Well, almost everyone; in academic as well as popular literature, you can also find uplifting accounts of how poverty and adversity foster a spirit of mutual aid: “we may not have much, but whatever we’ve got we share.” Whilst there are studies that find greater social solidarity in poor than in rich communities, the burden of the evidence points decidedly the other way: deprived communities generate more crime, more fights, more littering, less volunteering and lower trust than their more affluent neighbours. If we can all agree that this is the general pattern, then the interesting question becomes how to think about its causes. Continue reading