Disasters bring about communities of focussed discourse. We show how a segment of one such community controlled the early stages of discourse during a financial crisis as a variety of professionals (bankers, analysts, editorial writers and academics) made multiple types of arguments (emotional and technical) to allay citizens’ concerns about an impending banking collapse. We examine the rapid rise of this segment by mapping and analysing the responses printed in Icelandic newspapers to a Danish bank’s warning of Icelandic banking instability. Using social network analysis, we illustrate the networks of public actors and their immediate public responses, showing how close-knit both networks became after just one week of commentary in the Icelandic press. We demonstrate the power that professionals of various kinds have over an uninformed citizenry through their rapid responses and closely connected networks and underscore the obstacles awaiting those who want to alter discourse during crisis.
The authors gratefully acknowledge helpful suggestions from colleagues at seminars held at Reykjavík University and Bentley University. Reykjavík University provided financial support for this research.
This chapter focusses on the crucial first week of data from the authors’ study with A. A. Arnardóttir, written in Icelandic and oriented for Icelandic policy makers, involving the evolution of an Icelandic social network over nine months (Sigurjónsson, Schwarzkopf, & Arnardóttir, 2011). Thus, parts of the introduction, methodology sections and tables repeat in English some of the Icelandic material with the permission of Stjórnmál & Stjórnsýsla.
Schwarzkopf, D.L. and Sigurjonsson, T.O. (2018), "Discursive Control Using Emotion and Economics During a Financial Crisis", Sigurjonsson, T.O., Schwarzkopf, D.L. and Bryant, M. (Ed.) The Return of Trust? Institutions and the Public after the Icelandic Financial Crisis, Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 29-52. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78743-347-220181002Download as .RIS
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