The Erosion of Southern Europe's Middle Classes: Debt, insecurity and the political economy of austerity

Theodoros Papadopoulos, Antonios Roumpakis

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Abstract

Our article examines the position of middle classes in the social reproduction of southern European political economies in the light of the sovereign debt crisis. The first part analyses the rise of middle classes in southern Europe in the 1980s and 1990s. The second part discusses the transformation of southern European political economies after their entry in the European Monetary Union. The third part explores how the fiscal consolidation measures adopted as a response to the sovereign debt crisis contributed to the further undermining of southern European middle classes’ income and employment security. We discuss how the new European economic governance challenges the politico-economic foundations of southern European political economies by transforming them into de-facto ‘consolidation states’ (Streeck, 2013). Using EU-SILC data on disposable income we also demonstrate the differential impact of austerity measures. The erosion of middle classes has accelerated post-crisis, however, the speed and depth of this erosion and its political fallout are not uniform.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67 - 89
Number of pages23
JournalSociologie e politiche sociali
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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