On 22 July 2020 Stephan Pühringer and Johanna Rath presented their paper “Talking about Competition. Discursive shifts in the economic imaginary of competition in public debates” at the virtual Annual Conference of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE). The paper, which is joint work with Laura Porak is currently still work in progress, aims to explore the performativity of the economic concept of competition in public policy discourses and show to what extent these debates are shaped by professional economists as experts and opinion leaders. Thus, we are interested in the way the economic concept of competition has entered discourses and how distinct forms of a competitive logic have affected politico-economic processes of transformation on different levels of human conduct.

First, we aim to address, how competition as a concept but also what distinct logic of competition is referred to in media debates by different actors. Second, we inspect whether and in what aspects the main conceptualization of the economic imaginary of competition has undergone any shifts during the last decades. And third, we particularly focus on economic experts and their framing of competition in these debates. In doing so, we emphasize the re-defined role of economists as opinion leaders and consultors in providing answers to normative-ethical issues.

This joint paper of Stephan Pühringer, Laura Porak and Johanna Rath is part of the 3rd working package of SPACE, where we apply discourse analytical tools to trace the framing of and struggle over the logic of competition in political and public discourses.

Despite the circumstances and shortcomings of a fully online conference we enjoyed the vivid interdisciplinary atmosphere at SASE at are looking forward to hopefully meet again at SASE in Amsterdam in 2021.

Find the presentation here.

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