Title: The power of myth. The dialectics between 'elitism' and 'academism' in economic expert discourse

Authors: Jens Maesse

Addresses: Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Institute of Sociology, Karl-Glöckner-Str. 21E, 35394 Giessen (GER)

Abstract: This paper explores the impact of economic experts on society. Starting from a discourse-sociological approach, the paper investigates economic expert discourse at the interface between academia and society. Whereas idealistic-functionalist approaches emphasise the problem-solving character of economic expertise, this paper takes a critical-constructivist perspective. Here, social problems such as the 'financial crisis' as well as expert solutions are always seen as constructions which are based on complex social as well as discursive power relations. Not only knowledge but also myths, authority, interests and other factors play a role. Following this perspective, the paper outlines the role of academic excellence myths in economics for society in general and political discourses in particular. The nub of this contribution can be indicated as follows: the excellence orientation in economics has little to do with the inherent quality of academic work, it responds rather to external demands coming from society. 'Elitism' and 'academism' in economics are analysed as sources of political power and social legitimacy.

Keywords: cultural political economy; discourse theory; economic discourse; economic experts; expert discourse; economic sociology; governmental studies; post-structuralism; knowledge; power of myth; dialectics; elitism; academism; academia; society; critical constructivism; discursive power relations; academic excellence; external demands; political power; social legitimacy.

DOI: 10.1504/EJCCM.2016.081209

European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management, 2016 Vol.4 No.1, pp.3 - 20

Received: 02 Feb 2015
Accepted: 11 Oct 2015

Published online: 28 Dec 2016 *

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