Beyond Defeat and Austerity: Disrupting (the Critical Political Economy of) Neoliberal Europe, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Beyond Defeat and Austerity

Disrupting (the Critical Political Economy of) Neoliberal Europe, 1st Edition

By David J Bailey, Mònica Clua-Losada, Nikolai Huke, Olatz Ribera-Almandoz


288 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-09-21
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Much of the critical discussion of the European political economy and the Eurozone crisis has focused upon a sense that solidaristic achievements built up during the post-war period are being continuously unravelled. Whilst there are many reasons to lament the trajectory of change within Europe’s political economy, there are also important developments, trends and processes which have acted to obstruct, hinder and present alternatives to this perceived trajectory of declining social solidarity. These alternatives have tended to be obscured from view, in part as a result of the conceptual approaches adopted within the literature.

Drawing from examples across the EU, this book presents an alternative narrative and explanation for the development of Europe’s political economy and crisis, emphasising the agency of what are typically considered subordinate (and passive) actors. By highlighting patterns of resistance, disobedience and disruption it makes a significant contribution to a literature that has otherwise been more concerned to understand patterns of heightened domination, exploitation, inequality and neoliberal consolidation. It will be of interest to students and scholars alike.


"This book successfully debunks the idea that neo-liberalism and austerity are firmly established in Europe. In fact, austerity is constantly contested by a new, disruptive form of agency at the workplace and across society. This volume is a contribution of utmost importance to understanding exploitation and resistance in Europe, a must-read for everyone interested in progressive ways out of the crisis!" - Prof. Andreas Bieler, Professor of Political Economy, University of Nottingham.

"This book brings a breath of fresh air to the debate about Neoliberal Europe. Prevalent Marxist CPE approaches to European integration fail to connect Critical Political Economy with the disruptive force of labour struggles at the grassroots. To engage with this, the authors offer a disruptive-oriented approach to CPE. They call this approach ‘minor Marxism’ for it focuses on disruption rather than domination. I believe that this minor Marxism is a major contribution to an understanding of the pre-figurative power of old and new working class resistances. The book shows that they can do both: challenge nationalistic and authoritarian tendencies of European integration and organise new anti-austerity radicalisms in defence of the commons, leading to an alternative integration from below." - Dr Ana Cecilia Dinerstein, University of Bath, UK.

Table of Contents


  1. Beyond Left Melancholy: towards a disruption-oriented account
  2. The limits of market-based pacification: Labour unrest and European integration 
  3. In search of a new radicalism? Workers and trade unions during the European crisis
  4. Resisting neoliberal Europe, responding to the dismantling of welfare states
  5. Defending the common: struggles against marketization and austerity in education
  6. Everyday endeavours towards a needs-based housing policy
  7. Trapped between authoritarian constitutionalism, pragmatic prefigurative movements and Brexit? Disrupting neoliberal Europe

About the Authors

David Bailey is a Senior Lecturer in Politics in the Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham. He is the author of The Political Economy of European Social Democracy: A Critical Realist Approach (Routledge) and co-editor of European Social Democracy During the Global Economic Crisis: Renovation or Resignation? (Manchester University Press). He recently co-edited a special issue of Comparative European Politics, on contention in the age of austerity in Europe.

Mònica Clua-Losada is Associate Professor in Global Political Economy at the Department of Political Science at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She is also an executive board member of the Johns Hopkins University- Universitat Pompeu Fabra Public Policy Center in Barcelona. Her research focuses on the contestation, subversion and resistance by labour and other social movements of capitalist relations of domination. She has written and researched on the effects of the current financial crisis on the Spanish state, the British labour movement and social movements in Spain. Her work has been published in different languages and outlets.

Nikolai Huke is a Research Assistant and Lecturer in Political Science at Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen. He is the author of two recent books on social movements in Spain during the Eurozone crisis (Krisenproteste in Spanien (2016) and ‘Sie repräsentieren uns nicht’. Soziale Bewegungen und Krisen der Demokratie in Spanien (2017)). His research interests include European integration, democratic theory, Critical International Political Economy, vulnerability and resistance, everyday agency, transformations of welfare states, industrial relations and migration policy.

Olatz Ribera-Almandoz is a PhD candidate at the Department of Political and Social Sciences at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. She is also a visiting PhD student at the University of Manchester and a member of the Johns Hopkins University-Universitat Pompeu Fabra Public Policy Center. Her doctoral research investigates the interaction between social movements and the state in contexts of multilevel political arrangements, with special focus on the (new) demands for social justice, reproduction and welfare in Spain and the United Kingdom.

About the Series

RIPE Series in Global Political Economy

For almost two decades now, the RIPE Series published by Routledge has been an essential forum for cutting-edge scholarship in International Political Economy. The series brings together new and established scholars working in critical, cultural and constructivist political economy. Books in the RIPE Series typically combine an innovative contribution to theoretical debates with rigorous empirical analysis.

The RIPE Series seeks to cultivate:

  • Field-defining theoretical advances in International Political Economy
  • Novel treatments of key issue areas, both historical and contemporary, such as global finance, trade, and production
  • Analyses that explore the political economic dimensions of relatively neglected topics, such as the environment, gender relations, and migration
  • Accessible work that will inspire advanced undergraduates and graduate students in International Political Economy.

James Brassett – Warwick

Eleni Tsingou – Copenhagen Business School

Susanne Soederberg – Queen’s

Learn more…

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