Economic culture in the public sphere: practice, knowledge and discourse

“Economic Culture in the Public Sphere” is the topic of the European Journal of Sociology special issue, edited by Nina Bandelj, Lyn Spillman & Frederick F. Wherry. This very interesting collection of articles deals with the important question of how public understandings of economic processes emerge and change. It also addresses even more important question of how such public understandings influence economic change and continuity.
The introductory paper by the editors presents several approaches (emphasizing the role of ideas, discourses and political cultures) to understanding how cultural processes influence debates on the economy in the public sphere. The editors suggest that their implicitly shared themes should become the explicit foundation for a new research agenda which should include attention to several dimensions of meaning-making—economic practice, knowledge, and discourse—and consider the full range of empirical sites in which meaning-making about public economic issues takes place.
The five following articles (by Simone Polillo, Rachel Harvey, Stephanie L. Mudge, Sascha Münnich and Nicole Lindstrom) illustrate how the investigation of economic culture in the public sphere can create new insights into the operation of the economy and the role of public assessments of economic processes. They offer various engaging examples of the institutional and practical production and diffusion of economic knowledge and normative practice, and the ways they are embedded in public discourse.
For everyone who struggles with questions like: How is economic knowledge created and diffused? What professional and political processes and practices account for dominant understandings of economic action in public discussion? How do those dominant understandings influence moral claims in public debate? And how do historical turning points, key events, and new voices in public discussion shift the tenor and resonances of economic culture in the public sphere?-this very informative and thought-provoking issue is recommended indeed.

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