Quotation Rieder, Maria, Theine, Hendrik. 2019. ‘Piketty is a genius, but … ’: an analysis of journalistic delegitimation of Thomas Piketty’s economic policy proposals. Critical Discourse Studies. 16 (3), 248-263.




The continued rise of socio-economic inequality over the past decades with its connected political outcomes such as the Brexit vote in the UK, and the election of Donald Trump are currently a matter of intense debate both in academia and in journalism. One significant sign of the heightened interest was the surprise popularity of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the twenty-first Century. The book reached the top of the bestseller lists and was described as a ‘media sensation’, with Piketty himself as a ‘rock star economist’. This paper, drawing from a major international and cross-disciplinary study, investigates the print media treatment in four European countries of economic policy proposals presented in Capital. Applying social semiotic and critical discourse analysis, we specifically focus on articles which are in disagreement with these proposals and identify five categories of counterarguments used against Piketty: authorisation, moralisation, rationalisation, portrayal of victimhood and inevitability. Providing textual and linguistic examples we demonstrate how the use of linguistic resources normalises and conventionalises ideology-laden discourses of economic means (taxation) and effects, reinforcing particular views of social relations and class as common sense and therewith upholding and perpetuating power relations and inequalities.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Critical Discourse Studies
Citation Index SSCI
Language English
Title ‘Piketty is a genius, but … ’: an analysis of journalistic delegitimation of Thomas Piketty’s economic policy proposals
Volume 16
Number 3
Year 2019
Page from 248
Page to 263
Reviewed? Y
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/17405904.2019.1573148
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17405904.2019.1573148


The Mediation of Economic Inequality. Media Coverage of Piketty¿s Book `Capital in the 21st Century'
Theine, Hendrik (Details)
Rieder, Maria (University of Limerick, Ireland)
Department of Economics (Grisold) (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5335 Political economic theory (Details)
5341 Economic policy (Details)
5918 Media research, -studies (Details)
6909 Cultural economics (Details)
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