The Market Metaphor As an Issue of Political Language and Practice

No.3(2015)

Abstract
This paper focuses on the problem of analogies and metaphors in politics, concretely the metaphor of the market and the various analogies it encompasses applied to the political sphere, as a phenomenon of political language and practice. The inspiration behind this article is a sociological critique of the economic theory of politics by Lars Udehn. After forming a basic theoretical framework for the terms analogy and metaphor, the author discusses the problem of methodological inconsistency in the social sciences. The discussion of metaphor is presented in three parts: the inherence of homo economicus in politics, politics as exchange and politics as competition. The crucial thesis of this paper is that there are limitations on the extent to which political processes and phenomena may be understood in market terms, and individual analogies that have emerged from this metaphor are by definition only partially applicable. The conclusion is that the market metaphor presents specific difficulties and is an oversimplification which will lead sooner or later to significant misunderstandings and misinterpretations of politics.

Keywords:
market metaphor; homo economicus; generative metaphors; exchange and competition in politics; political marketing; voter preferences; persuasion
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