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The discourse of austerity in the British press

Grundmann, Reiner; Kreischer, Kim-Sue; Scott, Mike


Professor of Science & Technology Studies

Kim-Sue Kreischer

Mike Scott


Roland Sturm

Tim Griebel

Thorsten Winkelmann


In this paper we analyse the discourse of austerity in British broadsheets. Theoretically, we combine insights from discourse analysis and political science. Methodologically, we present a novel procedure to build and analyse a robust corpus derived from LexisNexis. Our analysis of this corpus shows the powerful actors in the discourse, and how they were able to exercise this power through ideas and language. Their visibility in the press, and their discursive performance are crucial elements in our analysis. Our analysis of the discourse shows that austerity has negative connotations; that no independent economic expertise was visible; that George Osborne was the most influential actor, providing clever catchphrases; that the oppositional Labour Party failed to develop an alternative narrative; that journalists took up elements of Osborne’s narrative rather than developing their own; and that right-wing think tanks had little visibility.


Grundmann, R., Kreischer, K., & Scott, M. (2018). The discourse of austerity in the British press. In T. Griebel, R. Sturm, & T. Winkelmann (Eds.), Austerity: a journey to an unknown territory: discourses, economics and politicsNomos. doi:10.5771/9783845281728-92

Acceptance Date Dec 1, 2017
Publication Date Jan 4, 2018
Deposit Date Mar 22, 2018
Journal Zeitschrift für Politik
Electronic ISSN 0044-3360
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Issue Spec.8
Series Title Zeitschrift für Politik
Book Title Austerity: a journey to an unknown territory: discourses, economics and politics
ISBN 978-3-8487-3849-6
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

This file is under embargo due to copyright reasons.

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