Critical Policy Discourse Analysis
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Critical Policy Discourse Analysis

Edited by Nicolina Montesano Montessori, Michael Farrelly and Jane Mulderrig

This book provides a series of contemporary and international policy case studies analysed through discursive methodological approaches in the traditions of critical discourse analysis, social semiotics and discourse theory. This is the first volume that connects this discursive methodology systematically to the field of critical policy analysis and will therefore be an essential book for researchers who wish to include a discursive analysis in their critical policy research.
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Chapter 8: The billionaires boot boys start screaming – a critical analysis of economic policy discourses in reaction to Pikettys Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Hendrik Theine and Maria Rieder


Many societies around the world have witnessed a decisive trend towards an increasing inequality of income and wealth. A sign of economic inequality establishing a foothold in the realm of political and economic discourse was the surprise popularity of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century (Capital). This chapter looks at the print media treatment of Capital in four European countries. Using a critical discursive perspective on economics relations, we investigate discourses in Britain, Germany, Ireland and Austria specifically in relation to Piketty’s economic policy proposals to increase the taxation of wealth and income. We draw on the concept of legitimation as well as proximation to discuss the most commonly used argumentative strategies for and against Piketty’s proposals. Providing examples for each of the strategies, we show and critique the routinisation and conversationalisation of hegemonic discourse, demonstrating how boundaries between information and persuasion as well as ‘objective’ power relationships get blurred.

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