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Journal Article (Refereed)
January 2016

Man Thou Art Dust: Liminal Vulnerability in Austere Times

O'Loughlin, D & Szmigin, I & McEachern, M & Karantinou, K & Barbosa, B & Fernández-moya, E 2016, 'Man Thou Art Dust: Liminal Vulnerability in Austere Times', Sociology.


In response to recent calls for further cross-disciplinary research on austerity (Brown and Spenser, 2014) and a deeper sociological understanding of the impact and aftermath of the economic crisis on individuals and societies (Dinerstein et al., 2014), this paper builds on extant austerity literature through an exploration of its effects on European men. Informed by theories of liminality and rites of passage (Turner, 1974; Van Gennep, 1960[1906]), this qualitative investigation examines the experience of austerity from the perspective of 11 men through the three liminal stages of separation, transition and reaggregation and investigates its impact on their identity, responsibilities and expectations.  Our findings reveal the negative experiences of alienation and outsiderhood alongside positive experiences of communitas, solidarity and comradeship. The study provides a nuanced understanding of modern male Europeans and their “rites of passage” through austere times.


SEEK Members

External Authors

Belem Barbosa

Kalipso Karantinou

E.M. Fernández-moya

Isabelle Szmigin

Deirdre O'Loughlin

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