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The following report analyses attitudes to the economic in the context of these two intersecting policy strands – austerity and The Big Society. The method taken is a grounded theory approach to the secondary analysis of nine transcripts taken from ‘The Middle Classes and the City’ (2012) study. Analysis draws upon Strauss and Corbin’s (2008) procedures with particular use of: questioning, comparisons and negative case analysis. Foucault’s theory of the modern state’s governmentality can be used to understand Peckham in 2012, at a time when the regulatory ‘instrument’ (Foucault 1977: 22) of fiscal intervention (in the form of welfare cuts) intersects the proposed ‘counter-conduct’ (Foucault 1977: 6) of civil society imagined in ‘The Big Society’ – that will, Foucault predicts, ultimately prevail over the state as we know it. It is a place where one participant (doctor, 20’s) suggests there is ‘nothing to particularly, to kind of rail against’ (P25) despite the landscape of public sector cuts. The statement is highly suggestive of the operation of subtle techniques that, Foucault suggests, allow the state to manage the collective in this way. In my analysis I set out to understand how recession is factored into participant’s description of the present and projection of the future and to gauge participant’s attitudes to austerity policies through the transcripts. I find evidence of acceptance of Foucault’s stripped back state, one which delivers the ‘essential function of ensuring the security of the natural phenomena of economic processes or processes intrinsic to population’ (birth, etc) (Foucault 1977: 58). I show how the majority of participants interviewed experience ‘security’ as insulation from the impact of recession in the present, and how this is understood by some in the context of living in an already financially risky capital. We find an inability to conceive of change to their economic position in future and thus participants occupy, a constant present which accommodates risk and and the inability to secure assets. All participants use a range of self-sufficient strategies that allow them to maximise their personal resources in the borough and control their use of public services – distancing themselves from bureaucracy represented by Southwark council. They therefore embody the competition between private individuals that Foucault argues engineers the ‘most favorable economic situation’ (F
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