"Piketty is a Genius, but...": An Analysis of Journalistic Delegitimation of Thomas Piketty's Economic Policy Proposals

Rieder, Maria and Theine, Hendrik (2018) "Piketty is a Genius, but...": An Analysis of Journalistic Delegitimation of Thomas Piketty's Economic Policy Proposals. Department of Economics Working Paper Series, 263. WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna.

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Abstract

The continuous rise of socio-economic inequality over the past decades with its connected political outcomes such as the Brexit vote in the UK, and the election of Donald Trump are currently a matter of intense debate both in academia and in journalism. A significant sign of the heightened interest was the surprise popularity of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century. The book reached the top of the bestseller lists and was described as a "media Sensation" and Piketty himself as a "rock star Economist". This paper, drawing from a major international and cross-disciplinary study, investigates the print media treatment in four European countries of economic policy proposals presented in Capital. Applying social semiotic and critical discourse analysis, we specifically focus on articles which are in disagreement with these proposals and identify five categories of counterarguments used against Piketty: authorisation, moralisation, rationalisation, portrayal of victimhood and inevitability. Providing textual and linguistic examples we demonstrate how the use of linguistic resources normalises and conventionalises ideology-laden discourses of economic means (taxation) and effects, reinforcing particular views of social relations and class as common sense and therewith upholding and perpetuating power relations and inequalities.

Item Type: Paper
Keywords: Thomas Piketty, Economic Inequality, economic ideology, Policy, Social Semiotics, Critical Discourse Analysis, economic discourse, media discourse, legitimation strategies
Classification Codes: JEL D63
Divisions: Departments > Volkswirtschaft
Depositing User: Claudia Tering-Raunig
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2018 12:43
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2019 03:41
FIDES Link: https://bach.wu.ac.at/d/research/results/85942/
URI: https://bach-s59.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/6248

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