Political Studies Association Conference, Glasgow
On April 11th 2017 I delivered a paper at the Political Studies Association Annual Conference in Glasgow. The paper was entitled, 'Machonomics and the Politics of Inequality'. The panel, The Politics of Inequality, was convened by David Adler of the University of Oxford, and it was sponsored by the British and Comparative Political Economy PSA Specialist Group.
Abstract: Feminist scholars have described the behavioural traits that have flourished within the global economy in terms of their underlying hyper-masculinity. Whilst this literature has typically focused on a small number of business leaders around whom popular myths of wealth creation have developed, the same way of thinking might also be applied to policy-makers. At the very least, my study of George Osborne's time as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer reveals how consistently he adoped the mantle of hyper-masculinity in his approach to deficit reduction. It was an attitude to the task at hand I label 'machonomics'. This concept is designed to mean more than that the outcomes of his austerity programme disproportionately disadvantaged women. It also captures the type of policy-maker that Osborne tried so hard to convince others he was. This self-projection finds a parallel, I argue, in what the macroeconomic theory literature describes as the specifically 'conservative policy-maker', someone reputed for trusting his own judgement even in the face of widespread dissent against his anti-social policies. The conservative policy-maker exudes the hyper-masculinity that Osborne embodied in his refusal to voice opinions in public suggesting that there were viable alternatives to painful public expenditure cuts.
Whilst I was at the Conference, I also participated as one of the mentors in a 'speed mentoring' event run by the PSA's Early Career Network that covered all possible elements of academic career advice.