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Emotions in economic crises: meltdown, bubble, collapse – panic, anger, and guilt (402)

Metaphors of emotion in the discourse surrounding the current financial crisis.

What role do emotions play in the discourse surrounding the current financial crisis: in mass-media reporting and in the public statements of leading political figures? How are economic crises constructed emotionally? What specific affects are addressed? Do these follow a specific sequence over time (fear merging into anger, for example)? And how do they relate to the national economic situation: to the consumer climate, savings ratio, stock exchange indices, unemployment rate? How are emotions expressed directly, and how are they communicated indirectly through metaphors?

What interpretations of the crisis do these images suggest (for example "meltdown", "collapse", and "bubble")? In what way do they ascribe responsibility and stipulate action? And how can the distribution of metaphors and codes be systematically evaluated? Using rhetorical textual analysis and scientific methods of content analysis, we aim to decode semantics, record developmental processes and develop models. Comparisons will be made between the economic crises of 2008/09, 2000/01 and 1929/30.


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