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Crisis management policy. How discourses shape academic-political actors

Jens Maesse (Senior Research Fellow, The Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 7 September 2015




The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a discourse analytical understanding of the political economy. The term “crisis” is an important label in recent discussion in political economy. Yet the genuine discursive dimension of “the crisis” and the multiple linguistic layers of the crisis discourse remains an open issue.


Realist perspectives usually believe in an external reality of crises independent of the language construction; in contrast, constructivist perspectives argue that a crisis is always the result of a socio-linguistic construction process. This contribution follows a critical-constructivist perspective, thereby taking into account powerful discursive actors which are able to “declare” a state in the world as a “crisis”.


From a discourse analytical point of view, this paper examines the rules and logics of crisis management policy, arguing that a new politico-academic elite has appeared which is beyond the classical distinction between “Keynesians” and “neo-liberals”. By taking a position in the discourse of the recent debate on financial regulation, these new elite might be able to manage the crisis for a particular time, as they are constructed as “moderating actors” through academic and political discourses.

Research limitations/implications

From a practical point of view, this analysis cannot offer economic solutions; from an analytical viewpoint, it will not give insights into discursive contexts.

Practical implications

This analysis helps to understand current debates on economic policy and to improve the communicative efficiency of the participants.


This paper combines a discourse analysis with a governmentality perspective and applies this analytical tool onto a political and economic topic currently prevailing in the global political economy.



Maesse, J. (2015), "Crisis management policy. How discourses shape academic-political actors", On the Horizon, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 231-245.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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