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Sociedade e Estado

versão impressa ISSN 0102-6992versão On-line ISSN 1980-5462


LEBARON, Frédéric. Sociology and social sciences in times of austerity. Soc. estado. [online]. 2018, vol.33, n.2, pp.529-537. ISSN 1980-5462.

This paper aims to demonstrate the importance of sociology for the analysis of austerity policies in times of political and social crises. Referencing the situation in Europe in the 2000s, it is shown that fiscal austerity policies are a complex scientific object that must be analyzed from a sociological rather than a purely economic point of view. Lebaron analyzes austerity as economic belief and performative discourse, showing that economic representations - from the most theoretical to the most practical - play a crucial role in the construction and reproduction of social order. These economic representations have structured institutions and collective beliefs in European countries, especially since the 1970s and 1980s, a period of expansion for neoliberalism and financialization. He then presents the mechanisms of, and participants involved in austerity: the European states (eurocracies), the institutions and the individual agents in this field. In a third instance, Lebaron criticizes the notion of "expansionary austerity" and shows how financial capitalism has increasingly taken control of our societies. Finally, Lebaron analyzes the social effects of fiscal austerity, based on the idea of the “complex dynamics of well-being". The author argues for the importance of creating alternative models that take into consideration the multidimensionality of well-being in our societies.

Palavras-chave : Economic sociology; Fiscal austerity policies; Capitalist societies; Eurocracies; Multidimensionality of well-being.

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