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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Crisis, Austerity, and Opposition in Mainstream Media Discourses in Greece

P. 35-56.

This chapter presents a critical study of mainstream media representations of the EU’s
current economic crisis. The study focuses on hegemonic narratives of the crisis and the
sociopolitical opposition to crisis-politics (such as austerity measures), as they appear in the
Greek newspaper, Kathimerini. I characterize these media discourses as neoliberal, based on
relevant literature analyzing the ideology of late capitalism (Brown 2003; Crouch 2011;
Harvey 2005).
The study draws on both a critical political economic perspective on capitalism (De
Angelis 2004; Harman 2009; Harvey 2010; Marx 1976) and a discourse-theoretical
perspective on politics (Laclau 1996; Laclau and Mouffe 1985). I use discourse theory to
analyze the hegemonic discourse of crisis capitalism in public articulations of mainstream
visions and strategies to overcome the crisis. As discourse1 has a material impact, discourse
theory analyzes the myths of neoliberal capitalism in the crisis-context, while political
economy addresses the materiality of the capitalist process itself. I understand the economy
as political and understand politics as primarily discursive. The analysis departs from an
understanding of political struggles and interventions as contingent. However, it also takes
into account the politico-historical limits of social contingency that are due to sedimented
(Laclau 1996: 88) power hierarchies, social relations, and social institutions, such as private
property. In the course of time, hegemony produces forms of order, institutions, and social
relations that become naturalized, established, and concrete grounds for human activity.
Despite its essentialism, such naturalness and concreteness, however, is historically and
socially constructed.