Recession, austerity and the 'Great Risk Shift'

Patricia Kennett, G Jones, Richard Meegan, J Croft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
271 Downloads (Pure)


A key feature of the rise of neoliberal politics and policy has been the progressive shift of risk from corporations and national states to the local government, individuals and households. In this article, we argue that, in the UK, ‘great risk shift’ has not only been intensified by recession and austerity but has also been marked by the unevenness of the redistribution of risk and insecurity across scales and places, and between different types of household. In order to capture the differentiated nature of experiences and impacts of recession, risk and insecurity, this article first considers the spatial and temporal dynamics of recession and the great risk shift. It then goes on to localise and embed these dynamics within the city regions and local authorities of Bristol and Liverpool, drawing on a quantitative survey of 1,013 households, across a range of different household types. The survey was segmented geographically and by ten different
household types using Ipsos-MORI’s (ACORN) classification of residential neighbourhoods. Whilst the evolving crisis and subsequent austerity measure have been a ‘moving target’ for cities, the local government and households, the household survey was undertaken in the two city regions in the winter of 2011 and explored experiences and impacts
since 2008. It will seek to demonstrate the nature, impact and ‘lived experience’ of the ‘risk shift’ during this period and consider the ongoing and broader implications for households, and national and local policymakers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-644
Number of pages23
JournalLocal Government Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2015


  • Recession and austerity
  • uneven impacts
  • great risk shift
  • households
  • local government


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