'An Apotheosis of Well-Being': Durkheim on austerity and double-dip recessions

Dawson, M. (2015) 'An Apotheosis of Well-Being': Durkheim on austerity and double-dip recessions. Journal of Classical Sociology, 15(4), pp. 321-336. (doi:10.1177/1468795X15572277)

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Abstract

This article is an attempt to contribute a view on the economic crisis from classical sociology, a voice often missing from the sociological response to the crisis. The work of Émile Durkheim provides a unique perspective here centred on morality and inequality produced in a historical context akin to our neoliberal times. It is argued there are four key points to take from Durkheim’s work. Firstly, that the initial credit crunch can be more fully understood with reference to the economic anomie which Durkheim sees as ‘chronic’ in a time of marketization. Secondly, that this creates an antagonistic relationship between a supposedly self-dependent rich and lazy poor. Thirdly, this conception of self-dependency and individual initiative makes any attempt to regulate the economy akin to sacrilege. Finally, the state is unwilling to intervene due to the emergence of ‘pseudo-democracies’. Therefore, Durkheim’s theory accounts for the initial crisis, austerity and double-dip recessions in a sociological framework. The article concludes by returning to the centrality of morality to the crisis for Durkheim and highlighting the omission of this in contemporary debates.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dawson, Dr Matt
Authors: Dawson, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Classical Sociology
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:1468-795X
ISSN (Online):1741-2897
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Author
First Published:First published in the Journal of Classical Sociology 15(4):321-336
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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