The lines of descent of the present crisis

Virdee, S. (2023) The lines of descent of the present crisis. Sociological Review, 71(2), pp. 458-476. (doi: 10.1177/00380261221150341)

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The neoliberal settlement has been comprehensively destabilised by the 2007 financial crisis, the imposition of austerity, growing social inequalities and the emergence of populism as a social force. This article explores why institutional opposition to this settlement has principally taken a nationalist form in Britain. It does so through a history of the present by tracing the labyrinthine lines of descent and the social forces and conflicts from which the contemporary moment emerged. In particular, I show how the conditions for the emergence of these nationalist projects were produced incrementally over time and through a series of interrelated social processes. These included the caesura of the 1970s and the shift from Fordist to flexible regimes of accumulation secured by extinguishing the educated hope generated by an increasingly multi-ethnic politics and language of class; the bipartisan commitment to neoliberalism; the racialisation of class through state multiculturalism; and the long-term failure to arrest the structural decline of non-urban localities caused by the technical decomposition of class. In this explanation, the 2007 financial crash and the continuing indifference of the political elites to the deepening injuries of class and locality constituted an accelerant placed on an already emergent crisis of representation helping to engineer a transformation in the political opportunity structure by opening a space for nationalist mobilising structures to fill the political vacuum.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Virdee, Professor Satnam
Authors: Virdee, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Sociological Review
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1467-954X
Published Online:30 January 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Author
First Published:First published in Sociological Review 71(2): 458-476
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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