College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

International Studies


Ireland, austerity, enclosure, 2007-2008 global financial crisis, neoliberalism


This thesis argues that the austerity policies in Ireland after the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis acted as a form of second enclosure and increased economic inequality. This thesis uses a Marxian critique of neoliberal market society to analyze the policies enacted after the 2010 Irish Bailout. I situated the concept of enclosure within liberal hegemony arguing that enclosure must be conceptualized as a method of inclusion and exclusion. In addition, I connect Ireland’s history of enclosure with the power relation between land ownership and capital accumulation. I contextualize Ireland’s austerity policies within the neoliberal project and Ireland’s membership in the European Union. Framing the bailout within these two contexts, I examine how these austerity policies act as a form of austerity through the inclusion and exclusion of the “common good” of welfare. I use Irish Travellers as an example of those excluded, as they are one of the most marginalized groups within Irish Society. Finally, I examine counter-hegemonic resistance centered on inequality in the form of newly create political parties. Understanding austerity as a recurring historical process uncovers the power dynamics reproduced within capitalist expansion and centers the discussion on the institutions creating these policies of inclusion and exclusion.