The double entanglement of geography and austerity: The neighbourhood and austerity experiences of disadvantaged urban youth in Ireland

Activity: Talk and presentationAcademic presentationAcademic


The 2010s have been the decade of austerity. In an attempt to rebalance state finances after the 2008 financial crisis, European states significantly restructured the social welfare state. This particularly affected marginalized populations and especially this living in marginalized places. This paper argues for that there exists a double entanglement between geography and austerity. First, austerity emerges differently in different spaces and, second, austerity itself reshapes places at various scales. I will demonstrate this by building on the ‘youth, austerity and the city’ project as carried out between 2013 and 2017 in Cork and Dublin, Ireland. Ireland implemented a harsh austerity regime, and this project investigated the experiences of living with austerity of young adults from disadvantaged urban neighbourhoods. This paper combines policy analysis with qualitative research to show that the materialization and experience of austerity are shaped by the historical and geographical context of these neighbourhoods. Next, it discusses the spatial transformations induced by austerity, including changes in the area itself, its relational geographies, and the experience of place at the home and the neighbourhood scale. Taken together, this project shows that austerity is both shaped by geography and is itself reshaping the geographies of everyday life. Austerity thus becomes embedded in the urban spaces that youth inhabit, therefore continuously affecting the areas in which they live and from which they confront ongoing societal developments.
Event titleBSA Early Career Forum: Situating austerity: The impact of locality on lived experience in austere times
Event typeConference
LocationCheltenham, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • austerity
  • geography