Ideology and Rhetoric of Mainstream Economics. Political participation and growing-up process

    4th open faculty research seminar


    Sept. 28, 59 Ordzhonikidze st., 19.00 – 21.00

    Free admission, everyone is welcome. The seminar is conducted in English.


    Seminar program

    • Anil Aba

      (PhD in Economics, University of Utah, USA)

      “Ideology and Rhetoric in the Textbook Presentation of Mainstream Economics”

      Mainstream economic science has a conservative and liberal disposition which overlooks contrasting schools of thought. This propensity, conceivably, would be reflected in the textbooks. Hence, the main objective of this research is to study the ideological underpinnings of introductory economics textbooks. To make a case for ideological bias in the textbooks, 19 editions of Samuelson’s Economics–which is the regarded as the consensus textbook–are surveyed in a selective manner. It is assumed that if there is an overall ideological bias towards the left-wing economic thinking, then the bias would be more pronounced on the radical segments of the spectrum. Thus, the reading is focused on Samuelson’s treatment of Karl Marx, Marxism, socialism, and so on. Drawing from critical discourse analysis (CDA) literature, both quantitative and qualitative analysis methods are employed. Strong arguments are shown for the existence of ideological bias. Levels of biased treatment are analysed during four time periods (1948–1970, 1973–1980, 1985–1992, and 1995–2010). Also, it is shown that Samuelson’s presentation of radical economic perspectives is very sensitive to the political context.

    • Svetlana Erpyleva

      (PhD in Sociology, European University, St. Petersburg)

      “‘Not mature enough for politics’: political participation and growing-up process”

      The presentation will deal with the problem of political participation and public sphere learning by adolescents. Referring to the theories of contentious politics and the public sphere in the post-communist world, I will highlight the debate around the relationships between private and public in the growing-up process. Is the value of political participation formed in the private sphere and then translated into the public one? Or, rather, is the public realm in opposite to the private? Using the empirical data on youth participation in contemporary protests in Russia and Ukraine, I will show that there is no direct connection between the values of private independence and public freedom during the growing-up process of adolescent activists. The values of private independence acquired by Russian adolescents do not automatically translate into practices in the public sphere, and, conversely, Ukrainian activists strongly adhere to the ethic of political freedom, but in doing so they prefer to break with the values of the private sphere rather than transfer them into politics. In conclusion, I will discuss some implications my analysis has for theories of the public sphere, our understanding of freedom, and our attitudes toward child-rearing.