Dr Sarah Marie-Hall is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester. Her research lies in the field of geographical feminist political economy: understanding how socio-economic processes are shaped by gender relations, lived experiences and cultural differences.
In particular, she has a longstanding interest in how economic change, such as austerity, is felt, understood and absorbed within everyday practices and relationships. Sarah sits on the Management Committee of the Women’s Budget Group, and the Committee of the Economic Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society.
Drawing on feminist theories around the ethics and politics of care, in this talk I explore gendered responsibilities, familial and personal relationships, and the role of social infrastructure in neoliberal economies. More specifically, I discuss the ways in which female members of families and communities are bearing the heavy burden of recent and deep cuts to public spending and welfare in the UK; that austerity is a socially uneven process and condition.
Using findings from two years of ethnographic research with community groups and families in Greater Manchester, as well as through my engagement with the Women’s Budget Group, I explore how managing the fall-out from austere policies, whether it be managing budgets, performing care-work, or providing emotional support, in families, communities and everyday encounters, is very much a gendered responsibility. I close with a consideration of the gendered politics of carrying out this fieldwork as a female researcher, and the burdens/responsibilities this might also present.