Common Sense on Campus: Disaffected Consent in the Age of Austerity

James Cairns


The austerity agenda tries to establish a “new normal” in which working-class people must settle for less in all areas of life. This paper draws on focus group interviews with university students to investigate which elements of the austerity agenda seem to assimilate into common sense, which meet resistance, and why. I interpret contradictions within the interviews as expressions of “disaffected consent,” and speculate on the potential outcomes of this apparent shift in hegemony.

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Studies in Political Economy:
Online ISSN 1918-7033
Print ISSN 0707-8552