In 2015, the newly elected government of Finland introduced austerity measures designed to improve the public economy, which had not recovered from the financial crisis of 2007–2008. The article examines how the government sought to secure acceptance for austerity by appealing to citizens’ emotions. We analyse how the measures were emotionally motivated and how, according to the parties in power, citizens should and should not have felt about them. The article shows how the politics of austerity produces various and contradictory feeling rules. These seek to temper citizens’ negative emotions towards austerity, such as dissatisfaction over unfair sharing of pain and distrust towards political authority. Interestingly, the rules evoke hope that a better future lies ahead if citizens follow the proposed measures, yet prompt fears of what will happen if they do not. The government also emphasised its transparency and honesty to prompt empathy and trust from the population.
- Austerity, emotions, feeling rules, affective citizenship, emotion governance, Finland
- Sosiaali- ja yhteiskuntapolitiikka