Re-gendering governance in times of austerity
This chapter traces different approaches to gendering austerity. It shows how austerity can be understood not only as policy but also as ideology and as governmentality by following Wendy Larner's important work on neoliberalism. Austerity heralds a privileging of technocratic governance: the manipulation of financial instruments and governing logics that are less than transparent. These different dimensions of austerity – as policy, as ideology, as governmentality – are overlaid on each other in ways that are mutually reinforcing. The chapter suggests mutually reinforcing elements of austerity as a highly gendered political project, raising a series of dilemmas for feminist scholars and activists. It offers two distinct theoretical framings: the first is a Gramscian depiction of gendered ideologies, and the second is a more Foucauldian understanding of the gendered implications of new technologies of governing. The chapter also traces the importance of considering how legitimacy for austerity is buttressed by profoundly gendered ideologies.