Empirically, I show how federalist divisions of authority posed a considerable challenge to the austerity agenda, as many local officials resisted privatization and cuts to social spending. When austerity could not be implemented solely through typical democratic channels, both Republican and Democratic officials responded with cuts to local democracy. To explain the case and its significance, I draw on theoretical work on political ideas and the formation of hegemony (in the tradition of Gramsci and Hall); materialist approaches to the study of race and racism (in the tradition of Du Bois); scholarship on neoliberal rationality (Foucault, Brown) and the politics of fiscal crisis (Phillips-Fein 2017); and sociological work on territorial stigma (Wacquant 2007), particularly at the level of the municipality (Kornberg 2016), to offer a brief list.
Harvey, David. 2005. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford.Kornberg, Dana. 2016. "The Structural Origins of Territorial Stigma: Water and Racial Politics in Metropolitan Detroit, 1950s-2010s. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 40(2):263-283.
Phillips-Fein, Kim. 2017. Fear City: New York's Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics. Metropolitan Books.
Soss, Joe, and Vesla Weaver. 2017. “Police Are Our Government: Politics, Political Science, and the Policing of Race-Class Subjugated Communities.” Annual Review of Political Science 20:565-591.
Wacquant, Loïc. 2007. "Territorial Stigmatization in the Age of Advanced Marginality." Thesis Eleven (91):66-77.
Mo Torres is a PhD candidate in sociology at Harvard, Stone Fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and a doctoral fellow at the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative. He is interested in questions of political economy, power, cities, race, and racism.