Marking "Austerity": Critique, Purpose and Performance

Victor Merriman

Abstract

This essay attempts to mark the current phase of capitalist neoliberalism, in order to create a space for articulation, in both senses of the word: there is a need both to articulate, as in to connect together ideas, events and their consequences, and to articulate, as in to voice the dynamics, contradictions, and injustices to which they give rise. As Shock Doctrine (Klein 2007), draped in Austerity’s mantle, enters the Common European Home, articulation as voice is an attempt to shatter, not silence, but the white noise generated by the mantra, “There Is No Alternative” (TINA). “Marking ‘Austerity’” sets out to articulate in some detail the features of the New Great Purpose: Austerity, with particular emphasis on its performative dimensions. The essay will then introduce key aspects of how contributors to  Forum Kritika: Performance and Domination configure acts of performance in circumstances of domination, before turning to emerging examples of alternative economies and concepts of social organisation, in which artists and intellectuals may use performance strategies in collective acts of imagining and creating circumstances better than this.

Keywords

Alternatives; articulation; austerity; cognitive mapping; constellation; culture; democracy; dramaturgy; municipalities; performance and power; rebel cities; refusal; renewal; TINA

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2013.02109