Economics in the Public Sphere: USA, UK, France, Brazil and Argentina since 1945

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Starting Grant (StG), SH2, ERC-2011-StG

Project acronym: ECONPUBLIC

Project: Economics in the Public Sphere: USA, UK, France, Brazil and Argentina since 1945

Researcher (PI): Tiago Jorge Fernandes Da Mata

Host Institution (HI): The University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Start date: 2012-01-01, End date: 2016-12-31

Summary: «Media reporting on the economy is never far from controversy. Academic economists and the public regularly find journalists at fault in their interpretation of events and prescription of solutions. Past scholarship has sought to locate the biases of journalists in political and institutional contexts. This project takes a novel approach by studying “economic journalism” as a site for the production of public economic knowledge. The practices of journalists are examined to reveal how they parse competing claims of expertise by academic economists, other social scientists and by laymen. The second half of the twentieth century was witness to increased homogeneity in academic economics and interdependence of national economies, yet the content and style of “economic journalism” has remained distinctive across nations. This project sets out to understand how and why media representation of economic knowledge has remained distinctively different even while the content and style of economics converged internationally. The project aims to understand this differentiation by focusing on three international economic controversies: the reconstruction debate post 1945, the monetary and oil crisis of the 1970s, and the current economic crisis; across five nations: USA, UK, France, Argentina, and Brazil. It combines archival research, oral history, ethnographic observation, content and textual analysis of media, to identify media representations of economic expertise and reveal how they are shaped by historical and cultural contexts. Cultural standards of trust, the history and economics of the media, and the history of economics and social movements explain the emergence of distinct national genres of “economic journalism.” The project offers a original perspective on how public knowledge of the economy is a iterative process engaging journalists, academics and laymen and explores its implications for the possibilities of public support for economic actions and policies.»

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