Austerity and the Public Role of Drama: Performing Lives-in-Common

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


This book asks what, if any, public role drama might play under Project Austerity – an intensification phase of contemporary liberal political economy. It investigates the erosion of public life in liberal democracies, and critiques the attention economy of deficit culture, by which austerity erodes life-in-common in favour of narcissistic performances of life-in-public. It argues for a social order committed to human flourishing and deliberative democracy, as a counterweight to the political economy of austerity. It demonstrates, using examples from England, Ireland, Italy, and the USA, that drama and the academy pursue shared humane concerns; the one, a critical art form, the other, a social enabler of critical thought and progressive ideas. A need for dialogue with emergent forms of collective consciousness, new democratic practices and institutions, shapes a manifesto for critical performance, which invites universities and cultural workers to join other social actors in imagining and enabling ethical lives-in-common.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Pivot
Number of pages175
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-03260-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-03259-3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019


  • Liberal democracy; liberal political economy; neo-liberalisation; Austerity; Deficit Culture; public world; liberal spectrum; social dramaturgy; social pedagogy; public life; common good; identitarianism; life-in-common Democracy; crisis; life-in-public; corporate power; civic action; marginal capital; Ireland; human flourishing; complicit scholarship; Performance and Civic Futures; folly; performance and social change; Global Financial Crisis (GFC); corporate neoliberalism; Ireland; public memory; Jim Nolan; 1916 commemorations; ethical encounter; One Hour Theatre Company (OHTC); theatre’s social role; public deliberation; conceptualising collectives; bombastic narcissism; mediation; BBC; demystification; new politics; academic deficit; epistemicide; Critical Performance Manifesto; author-mediation; critical authorship; liveness; public protest; public deliberation


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