The Violence of Austerity: book launched

Date: 
Monday, 22 May, 2017

In The Violence of Austerity, Dr Victoria Cooper and Professor David Whyte, a Visiting Fellow at the Centre, bring together the voices of experts to show that rather than stimulating economic growth, austerity policies have led to a dismantling of the social systems that operated as a buffer against economic hardship, exposing austerity to be a form of systematic violence.

The origins of this book are from a panel discussion on the ‘violence of austerity’ that was part of the conference, How Violent is Britain?, hosted by the University of Liverpool and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies in May 2014. The conference brought together many of the contributors to this book. 

Covering a range of famous cases of institutional violence in Britain, the authors argue that violent evictions in the rented sector, the risks faced by people on workfare schemes, community violence in Northern Ireland, and cuts to the regulation of social protection, are all being driven by reductions in public sector funding. The result is an exposé of the myriad ways in which austerity policies harm people in Britain.

The Centre's Deputy Director, Will McMahon said:

We mostly think of violence as something one person does to another which the police might deal with. This new book, the result of a successful collaboration between the Centre and the University of Liverpool, demonstrates that state policies can themselves have very violent outcomes for individuals and communities. 

I welcome the publication of this book as a real contribution to broadening our understanding of violence in society, and in particular bringing to the fore the idea that the majority of violence cannot be found in police recorded data but instead in the outcomes of the social policies a government might pursue.

Lynsey Hanley, fromThe Guardian and author of Estates said:

This book leaves the reader in no doubt that government actions have the power to make or break lives and communities.


You can view a video by Vickie Cooper and David Whyte introducing the book.