Yet another updated reading list on austerity and social geography

Once again, I’m updating my reading list for the Newcastle University Stage 2 module on Social Geographies (GEO2110) and am uploading the references and links here for ease of access, and so that others can use it too.

The usual disclaimer that I can’t cover everything here and I’m sure I’ve missed some great stuff. Please do let me know of things I can add. 

Previous versions of this list are accessible here: 2014, more 20142015 and 2016. I have repeated some of the references (for example, when a journal article has actually been published after being pre-publication previously, or when I’ve just forgotten I’ve already listed it 😉 ) but I have tended just to add newly-published material, so do look back over past versions to access publications that are just a couple of years old.

Note that some of the links for the policy reports in the previous posts are broken but all of the reports are still available – you can Google the report titles and find the updated links.

I have very much focused on publications which relate directly to the themes we cover in GEO2110 Social Geographies. There is much more excellent work which relates more closely to economic or political geography themes.

New (or updated) academic publications

Ballas, D., Dorling, D. and Hennig, B. (2017) Analysing the regional geography of poverty, austerity and inequality in Europe: a human cartographic perspective, Regional Studies, 51(1), 174-185.

Bragg, J., Burman, E., Greenstein, A., Hanley, T., Kalambouka, A., Lupton, R., McCoy, L., Sapin, K. and Winter, L. (2015) The Impacts of the Bedroom Tax on Children and Their Education: A Study in the City of Manchester.

Cooper, V. and Whyte, D. (2017) Government austerity demands that we die within our means, Open Democracy, 23.5.17.

Cooper, V. and Whyte, D. (eds.) (2017) The Violence of Austerity, Pluto – there’s a video here in which the authors talk about the book’s central argument.

Corcoran, M., Kettle, P.  and O’Callaghan, C. (2017) Green shoots in vacant plots? Urban agriculture and austerity in post-crash IrelandACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 16(2), 305-331.

Edmiston, D., Patrick, R. and Garthwaite, K. (2017) Introduction: Austerity, Welfare and Social CitizenshipSocial Policy and Society, 16(2), 253-259. This is an introduction to a special section, and the editors have also produced a guide to “Some Useful Sources

Garthwaite, K. (2017) ‘I feel I’m Giving Something Back to Society’: Constructing the ‘Active Citizen’ and Responsibilising Foodbank UseSocial Policy and Society, 16(2), 283-292.

Garthwaite, K. and Bambra, C. (2017) “How the other half live”: Lay perspectives on health inequalities in an age of austeritySocial Science & Medicine, 187, 268-275.

Greenstein, A., Burman, E., Kalambouka, A. and Sapin, K. (2016). Construction and deconstruction of ‘family’ by the ‘bedroom tax’British Politics, 11(4), 508-525.

Greer Murphy, A. (2017) Austerity, women and health inequalities in the UK, Women Are Boring, 12.3.17.

Gill, R. and De Benedictis, S. (2016) Austerity Neoliberalism, Open Democracy.

Green, M., Dorling, D. and Minton, J. (2017) The geography of a rapid rise in elderly mortality in England and Wales, 2014-15Health & Place, 44, 77-85.

Hall, S. M. (2017) Personal, relational and intimate geographies of austerity: ethical and empirical considerationsArea, 49(3), 303-310.

Hitchen, E. (2016) Living and feeling the austereNew Formations, 87, 102-118.

Mattheys, K., Bambra, C., Warren, J., Kasim, A. and Akhter, N. (2016) Inequalities in mental health and well-being in a time of austerity: Baseline findings from the Stockton-On-Tees cohort studySSM-Population Health, 2, 350-359.

McDowell, L. (2017) Youth, children and families in austere times: change, politics and a new gender contractArea, 49(3), 311-316.

Moffatt, S., Lawson, S., Patterson, R., Holding, E., Dennison, A., Sowden, S. and Brown, J. (2016) A qualitative study of the impact of the UK ‘bedroom tax’, Journal of Public Health 38(2) 197-205

O’Brien, M. and Kyprianou, P. (2017) Just Managing? What it Means for the Families of Austerity Britain Open Book Publishers.

Patrick, R. (2016) Living with and responding to the ‘scrounger’ narrative in the UK: exploring everyday strategies of acceptance, resistance and deflection, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 24(3) 245-259

Pimlott‐Wilson, H. and Hall, S. M. (2017) Everyday experiences of economic change: repositioning geographies of children, youth and familiesArea. This is the introduction to a special issue with a number of related pieces.

Power, A. and Hall, E. (2017) Placing care in times of austeritySocial & Cultural Geography, 1-11 (from a forthcoming special issue on Placing Care in Times of Austerity).

Raynor, R. (2017) Dramatising austerity: holding a story together (and why it falls apart…)cultural geographies, 24(2), 193-212.

van Lanen, S. (2017) Living austerity urbanism: space–time expansion and deepening socio-spatial inequalities for disadvantaged urban youth in Ireland, Urban Geography.

Wilkinson, E. and Ortega-Alcázar, I. (2017) A home of one’s own? Housing welfare for ‘young adults’ in times of austerity, Critical Social Policy.

A special issue of Discover Society on families and relationships in crisis, with short articles by geographers including Sarah Hall and Helen Holmes, Iliana Ortega-Alcázar, Eleanor Wilkinson, and me (Alison Stenning)


Reports from thinktanks and charities

The School of Law at Warwick University collates and regularly updates a list of Reports on the Impact of Public Spending Cuts Across the UK. This includes reports on different parts of the UK and on different sectors.

Women’s Budget Group Gender Impact Assessment of Spring 2017 Budget

House of Commons Library Estimating the gender impact of tax and benefits changes, 13.12.2016


And a reminder to look at certain organisations, such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Poverty and Social Exclusion, and key newspapers, such as The Guardian and The Financial Times, to explore their coverage of austerity and its impacts.



Updated and Consolidated List of References and Links on the Social Geographies (Broadly Defined) of Recession and Austerity

Because of the very contemporary nature of these issues, much of the best material on the social geographies (broadly defined) of recession and austerity is only beginning to be formally published, but much is accessible through newspaper columns and blogs, both by academics and by others.

Previous versions of this list are accessible here and here, but I hope I’ve included all I’ve previously referenced in this updated and consolidated list.

This page doesn’t look very pretty – I may tidy it up sometime, but I think, at least, all the links work. Let me know ( if they don’t – and let me know if you know of publications I could add. Thanks!

There’s an article about some ‘austerity’ blogs here:

These are some of the most interesting, and some other links that document the experience of austerity in the UK today.

Geographer Danny Dorling writes widely about inequality, poverty, and most recently, austerity. Search his most recent publications here: – Blog by Jack Monroe who has published particularly about food and food poverty; her Guardian columns (and recipes!) are available here: – “Talking with people dealing with public sector cuts”. Kate Belgrave’s Guardian columns are here: – Bernadette Horton, “a mum of 4 fighting everyday battles against austerity – and hoping to win!”

From Guardian Witness, personal accounts ( and Patrick Butler’s Cuts Blog (

Patrick Butler is The Guardian’s editor of society, health and education policy. His articles can be found here:

The Telegraph’s ‘Recession Tour” of 2008:

The journalist Mary O’Hara’s book Austerity Bites ”chronicles the true impact of austerity on people at the sharp end, based on her ‘real-time’ 12-month journey around the country just as the most radical reforms were being rolled out in 2012 and 2013” ( Her Guardian page ( has links to all sorts of different articles on related issues (welfare, legal aid, disability, mental health etc.). You can also find her discussing “Austerity Economies and Mental Health” on Madness Radio


In addition, there are numerous policy and charity reports on the effects and experiences of austerity and recession.

The Centre for Human Rights Practice at Warwick University has compiled a very comprehensive list of “Reports on the Impact of Public Spending Cuts on Different Disadvantaged Groups within the UK” which can be found here

Others include:

Real Life Reform – “an important and unique study that tracks over a period of 18 months how people are living and coping with welfare reforms across the North of England” – there are six reports available here:

The Association of North East Council’s report on The Impact of Welfare Reform in the North East:

Voices of Britain – “A Snapshot of the Condition of Britain in 2013” from the Institute of Public Policy Research

The Family and Parenting Institute’s work on Families in the Age of Austerity:

The charity Gingerbread has research the effect of austerity on single parents in a project called Paying the price: Single parents in the age of austerity (

Relate and a range of other organisations produced a report on Relationships, Recession and Recovery: The role of relationships in generating social recovery (

The Campaign for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Working Group for the North East produced this report on the impact of austerity measures on women in the North East:

Other sites/organisations include the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Shelter, Poverty and Social Exclusion ( and the New Economics Foundation. Search for these online and see what you can find.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has continued to analyse the reform of welfare budgets, including in this report on living standards:

For an Irish perspective, have a look at – a blog written mostly by geographers on Ireland’s experience of financial crisis and austerity.


There is a useful summary of the 2012 reforms here:

Other summaries can be found here:

The government:

Child Poverty Action Group:

Local Government Information Unit:

Some of the emerging academic and related work…

Allen, K., Tyler, I. and De Benedictis, S. (2014). Thinking with ‘White Dee’: The gender politics of ‘austerity porn’, Sociological Research Online, 19/3,

Atkinson, W., Roberts, S. & Savage, M. (eds.) (2012) Class Inequality in Austerity Britain, Palgrave MacMillan: Basingstoke. (The first chapter is available to download here:

Bailey, N., Bramley, G. and Hastings, A. (2015) Symposium Introduction: Local responses to ‘austerity’, Local Government Studies, ahead-of-print.

Bambra C. (2013) ‘All in it together’? Health inequalities, austerity and the ‘Great Recession’, Health in Austerity, Demos: London. [see also a brief report at]

Bambra, C. and Garthwaite, K. (2015) Austerity, welfare reform and the English health divide, Area, 47/3, 341-343.

Beatty, C. and Fothergill, S. (2013) Hitting the Poorest Places Hardest: The Local and Regional Impact of Welfare Reform,

Brown, G. (2013) The revolt of aspirations: contesting neoliberal social hope, ACME

Clayton, J., Donovan, C. and Merchant, J. (2015) Distancing and limited resourcefulness: Third sector service provision under austerity localism in the north east of England, Urban Studies, ahead-of-print.

Clayton, J., Donovan, C. and Merchant, J. (2015) Emotions of austerity: Care and commitment in public service delivery in the North East of England, Emotion, Space and Society, 14, 24-32.

Copeland, A., Kasim, A. and Bambra, C. (2015). Grim up North or Northern grit? Recessions and the English spatial health divide (1991–2010). Journal of Public Health, 37/1, 34-39.

Crossley, S. and Slater, T. (2014) Articles: Benefits Street: territorial stigmatisation and the realization of a ‘(tele)vision of divisions’, Values and Value Blog,

Donald, B., Glasmeier, A., Gray, M. and Lobao, L. (2014) Austerity in the city: economic crisis and urban service decline? Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 7/1, 3-15.

Dowler, E. and Lambie-Mumford, H. (2014) Rising use of “food aid” in the United Kingdom, British Food Journal, 116/9, 1418-1425.

Dowler, E. and Lambie-Mumford, H. (2015) How can households eat in austerity? Challenges for social policy in the UK, Social Policy and Society, 14/3, 417-428.

Dowler, E. and Lambie-Mumford, H. (2015) Introduction: Hunger, food and social policy in austerity, Social Policy and Society, 14/3, 411-415.

Flaherty, J. and Banks, S. (2013) In whose interest? The dynamics of debt in poor households, Journal of Poverty & Social Justice, 21/3, 219-232.

Fraser, A., Murphy, E. and Kelly, S. (2013) Deepening neoliberalism via austerity and ‘reform’: The case of Ireland, Human Geography, 6, 38-53.

Garthwaite, K., Collins, P. and Bambra, C. (2015) Food for thought: An ethnographic study of negotiating ill health and food insecurity in a UK foodbank, Social Science & Medicine, 132, 38-44.

Hall, S. M. (2015) Everyday ethics of consumption in the austere city, Geography Compass, 9/3, 140-151.

Hall, S. M. (2015). Everyday family experiences of the financial crisis: getting by in the recent economic recession. Journal of Economic Geography, online first.

Hall, S. M. and Jayne, M. (2015) Make, mend and befriend: geographies of austerity, crafting and friendship in contemporary cultures of dressmaking in the UK, Gender, Place & Culture, ahead-of-print.

Hamnett, C. (2010) Moving the poor out of central London? The implications of the coalition government 2010 cuts to Housing Benefits, Environment and Planning A, 42/12, 2809-2819.

Hamnett, C. (2011) The reshaping of the British welfare system and its implications for geography and geographers, Progress in Human Geography, 35/2, 147-152.

Hamnett, C. (2013) Shrinking the welfare state: the structure, geography and impact of British government benefit cuts, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Early View Online.

Hancock, L. and Mooney, G. (2013) “Welfare ghettos” and the “Broken Society”: Territorial stigmatization in the contemporary UK, Housing, Theory and Society, 30/1, 46-64.

Harrison, E. (2013) Bouncing back? Recession, resilience and everyday lives, Critical Social Policy, 33/1, 97-113.

Hodkinson, S. and Robbins, G. (2013) The return of class war conservatism? Housing under the UK coalition government, Critical Social Policy, 33/1, 57-77.

Horton, J. (2015) Young people and debt: getting on with austerities. Area, online first.

Jacobs, K. and Manzi, T. (2013) New localism, old retrenchment: The “Big Society”, housing policy and the politics of welfare reform, Housing, Theory and Society, 30/1, 29-45

Jensen, T. (2014). Welfare commonsense, poverty porn and doxosophy, Sociological Research Online, 19/3,

Jensen, T. and Tyler, I. (2013) Austerity parenting: New economies of parent citizenship, Studies in the Maternal, 4/2

Jensen, T. and Tyler, I. (2015) ‘Benefits broods’: The cultural and political crafting of anti-welfare commonsense, Critical Social Policy, online first.

Jones, G., Meegan, R., Kennett, P. and Croft, J. (2015) The uneven impact of austerity on the voluntary and community sector: A tale of two cities, Urban Studies, ahead-of-print.

Kennett, P., Jones, G., Meegan, R. and Croft, J. (2015) “Recession, austerity and the ‘Great Risk Shift’: Local government and household impacts and responses in Bristol and Liverpool, Local Government Studies, ahead-of-print.

[The two papers above, and Meegan et al (2014) below, come from a research project on “The uneven impact of recession on cities and households: Bristol and Liverpool compared”. More details and publications can be found here: Their website has links to a range of background documents, including a review of ‘grey literatures’ on the “Impact of the Recession and Period of Austerity on Households”,]

Koch, I. (2014) ‘A policy that kills’: The bedroom tax is an affront to basic rights,

Lambie-Mumford, H. (2013) ‘Every town should have one’: emergency food banking in the UK. Journal of Social Policy, 42/1, 73-89.

Lambie-Mumford, H. and Jarvis, D. (2012) The role of faith-based organisations in the Big Society: opportunities and challenges, Policy Studies, 33/3, 249-262.

Loopstra, R., et al. (2015) Austerity, sanctions, and the rise of food banks in the UK.” British Medical Journal h1775.

MacDonald, R., Shildrick, T. and Furlong, A. (2014). ‘Benefits Street’ and the myth of workless communities, Sociological Research Online, 19/3,

Meegan, R., Kennett, P., Jones, G. and Croft, J. (2014) Global economic crisis, austerity and neoliberal urban governance in England, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 7/1, 137-153.

O’Hara, M. (2014) Austerity Bites: A Journey to the Sharp End of Cuts in the UK, Policy Press: Bristol.

Pearce, J. (2013) Commentary: Financial crisis, austerity policies, and geographical inequalities in health, Environment and Planning A, 45/9, 2030-2045.

Purdam, K., Garratt, E. and Esmail, A. (2015) Hungry? Food insecurity, social stigma and embarrassment in the UK, Sociology, ahead of print.

Ridge, T. (2013) ‘We are all in this together’? The hidden costs of poverty, recession and austerity policies on Britain’s poorest children, Children & Society, 27/5, 406-417.

Schrecker, T. and Bambra, C. (2015) How Politics Makes Us Sick: Neoliberal Epidemics, Palgrave Macmillan: London.

Schrecker, T. and Bambra, C. (2015) Neoliberal epidemics: the spread of austerity, obesity, stress and inequality, The Conversation,

Slater, T. (2011) From ‘criminality’ to marginality: Rioting against a broken state, Human Geography, 4/3,

Slater, T. (2014) The myth of ‘Broken Britain’: welfare reform and the production of ignorance, Antipode 46/4, 948-969.

Stenning, A. (2013) The Costs of Austerity [blog post]

Stuckler, D. and Basu, S. (2013) The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills. Basic Books.

Tyler, I. (2013) The riots of the underclass? Stigmatisation, mediation and the government of poverty and disadvantage in neoliberal Britain, Sociological Research Online, 18(4)

See also the themed issue of Critical Social Policy on “Social Policy in an Age of Austerity” in August 2012 (32/3)

The Costs of Austerity

In this project I’m interested in the ways in which people’s relationships with family, friends and the wider community enable them to negotiate social and economic change. The cluster of economic and social changes that I’m particularly focused on are those associated with the ongoing recession and the austerity measures implemented, by government and other institutions, in response to recession.

Many of these changes are part of the coalition government’s ongoing welfare reforms, announced in the 2012 comprehensive spending review and the 2012 Welfare Reform Act. The key reforms include:

– the freezing of child benefit rates and ‘tapering’ of access for higher income households (earning over £50,000) plus reductions in a variety of payments to new parents (such as the Child Trust Fund and the Health in Pregnancy Grant)

– the capping of housing benefits (as part of the overall benefit cap, see below), a reduction in Local Housing Allowance rates (which set the local levels of housing benefit) and benefit reduction for ‘under-occupation’ (the so-called ‘bedroom tax’)

– time limiting of employment and support allowance (ESA)

– a reduction in both coverage and levels of tax credits (in advance of all tax credits being subsumed with Universal Credit, see below)

– the replacement of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) by Personal Independent Payments (PIPs) and a re-assessment of all recipients (expected to result in hundreds of thousands receiving reduced levels of benefit)

– the localisation of council tax benefit (i.e. to cash-strapped local authorities) and a reduction of council tax benefit budgets by 10%

– a benefit cap of £500 per week for a family or £350 per week for a single person

– the abolition of community care grants and crisis loans (with a suggestion but no statutory requirement that they be replaced by local schemes, devised by (cash-strapped) local authorities)

– the introduction of Universal Credit from Oct 2013; this will become the main means-tested social security benefit for people of working age, replacing Housing Benefit, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Jobseeker’s Allowance, Working Tax Credit & Child Tax Credit

– an increase in state pension age

In addition to these welfare reforms, the other major cuts affecting households’ everyday lives are the cuts to council spending allocations, amounting to £5 billion in 2011/12 and 2012/13. This equates to an average decline, over two years, of approximately 16% in councils’ funding from central government. These cuts are leading to declining support for essential services and the wholesale of withdrawal of support from apparently non-essential services (in, for example, Newcastle City Council’s plan to cut all arts subsidies). There’s a particular geography to these funding cuts, as Patrick Butler’s Cuts Blog in the Guardian explores. In North Tyneside, Conservative mayor, Linda Arkley, has spearheaded an outsourcing of council services, in the face of opposition from Labour-held council. The impacts of this outsourcing are as yet unknown, but the fear is that access to services will be reduced.

On top of all these, families are feeling the ‘squeeze’ from, at one end, pay cuts and freezes, reduced working hours and job loss, and at the other, from increases in everyday prices, for food and energy for example. The ‘big six’ energy providers announced price increases in December of between 6 and 12%. At the same time, a number of the large supermarkets predicted further food price rises, as a result of both high world grain prices and the wet UK winter. The impact of this particular squeeze is seen in the rapid growth of food banks across the UK; the Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest provider of food banks, estimates around 230,000 people will be fed nationwide by food banks in 2012/13 (see also this report).

Numerous commentators suggest that yesterday’s Budget will do little to alleviate the pressures on families. Budget reflections by the Resolution Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Fawcett Society, and many others argue that nothing has been done to stop more and more working families finding themselves in, or on the brink of, poverty. What’s more, there are fears that the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review (expected later this year or in 2014) will see further cuts to welfare.

All in all, this is tough picture for the ‘squeezed middle’ families at the heart of my research. Whilst these are not families living in poverty, they are families for whom a few knocks (such as reduced working hours, or rising energy prices, or limited access to tax credits, or the loss of free local playgroup) make life increasingly difficult.