Narratives of Neoliberalism: The Role of Everyday Media Practices and the Reproduction of Dominant Ideas
Andreas Gofas & Colin Hay (eds), The Role of Ideas in Political Analysis: A Portrait of Contemporary Debates, London: Routledge, 2010
23 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2012
Date Written: January 1, 2010
In our chapter we will make an argument about studying ideas through focusing on their (re)presentation in public discourses. We begin from the position that the media play an important political role as a broker and interpreter of ideas. We are also contributing to existing analyses of the media in international relations/international political economy. We have chosen an episode of when (and how) the media acted as a contributory mechanism in sustaining the dominant ‘neoliberal ideology’. The example we present is the collapse of the London-based Barings Bank in 1995, and we show the episode’s impact on the dominant neoliberal regulatory discourses. The role of crisis is important because it represents a moment when the limits of the liberal regulatory regime were exposed, but also one where the regime was subsequently secured and legitimated. Crucially, we argue, because the collapse was interpreted and narrated as the fault of a rogue individual rather than a consequence of more structural regulatory weaknesses, the existing regime was exonerated. The chapter looks at the mechanisms by which neoliberalism, as the dominant discourse, is reproduced through media accounts.
Keywords: narrative, neoliberalism, ideas, Leeson, Barings Bank, media, discourse, IPE, IR, rogue trade, discursive construction, crisis, finance
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