GENDEMOTION: The Gendered Politics of Emotion in Austerity Ireland

This research project surveys and theorises the politics of shame in the contemporary Irish context. It identifies the deployment and manipulation of emotions in public discourses, particularly with regard to historically marginalised groups, since the onset of the economic crisis, and teases out the gendered and classed operation of the politics of shame. The project establishes the role shame plays in the contemporary political setting post-2008 with the introduction of austerity as a policy response to the economic crisis. Building on theoretical work highlighting the increased shame-proneness of traditionally disadvantaged groups, the project examines the linkage between gender and shame. Although shame has been understood as being entangled with patriarchal norms concerning women’s bodies and sexuality it has, so far, been under-theorised with regard to gender and material disadvantage and poverty. There is some empirical evidence that shame, does, in fact, manifest itself in impoverished populations, and that this may be amplified or at least complicated by gender. The project forms the first feminist, political theoretical treatment of the economic crisis and the policy response to same, and focuses, uniquely, on gender and class. It does so, again uniquely, through a framing in terms of affect and the politics of emotion.

The project seeks to capture just how those experiencing austerity most immediately have conceptualised their disproportionate disadvantaging, and whether they themselves have engaged a politics of shame. GENDEMOTION constitutes a feminist investigation of a complex empirical context in its relation to gender, shame, and economic disadvantage. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 750326.

The Principal Investigator on this project is Dr Clara Fischer.