Project

Economic textbook research

Goal: Economics is a typical example of a Kuhnian textbook science. Textbooks are not only the dominant didactical medium of its study programmes, they also offer a device of self-assurance for the entire discipline. Hence, content, design, history and the political economy of economics textbooks are of paramount importance to understand the disciplinary reproduction of economics.

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Project log

Lukas Bäuerle
added a research item
By conducting a discourse analysis (SKAD) in the field of academic economics textbooks, this chapter aims at reconstructing frames and identity options offered to undergraduate students relating to the questions ‘Why study economics?’ and ‘Who do I become by studying economics?’. The analysis showed three major frames and respective identity offerings, all of which are contextualized theoretically. While a first frame promises students to learn ‘eternal truths’, thereby becoming ‘specialized knowers’, a second frame encourages students to capitalize their education as self-entrepreneurs. A third frame combines the ‘Why?’ of economic education directly with identity options by granting students insights in their ‘real’ and ‘true’ inner state. Taken together, economics textbooks appear as a “total structure of actions brought to bear upon possible action” (Foucault), therefore, as a genuine example of Foucauldian power structures.
Lukas Bäuerle
added a research item
Der Beitrag verfolgt die beiden miteinander verwandten Fragen, wie Ökonom*innen zu wissen vorgeben und warum sie überhaupt wissen wollen. Es wird argumentiert, dass sowohl die ökonomische Wissensform als auch die Motivation der Wissenden im Verlauf des 20. Jahrhunderts einen grundlegenden Wandel erfahren haben. Das Wissen wichtiger ökonomischer Lehrbücher der Gegenwart hat mit einem objektiven, dezidiert wissenschaftlich motivierten Wissen nur noch wenig gemein. Ihren Inhalten und Formen liegt vielmehr eine produktive Absicht zugrunde, die auf die Subjektivität ihrer Leser*innen zielt.
Lukas Bäuerle
added 28 research items
Economics as a science not only investigates what is (as a positive science) and what should be (as a normative science), but influences, through its fundamental ideas, what facts and norms are recognized as such in society. This holds especially true for economic education. My article explains this thesis and elaborates, in particular, how this form of education stipulates a particular vision of human beings worldwide. First, I show how economics actively seeks to influence the inscription of the commonplace image of the human through economics education. Second, I discuss economics as a textbook science in Thomas Kuhn’s sense: as a science incapable of giving the students any plural or critical understanding of their self and the world. In the third step, I identify the essential features of the human image lying at the base of the economic curriculum; an image (so I argue), which splits society into mere cogs in the machine of the economy on the one side and omnipotent social engineers on the other side.
Wussten Sie, dass die ökonomische Bildung weltweit standardisiert ist und damit die Denkweisen von Millionen von Studierenden zu prägen vermag? Und dass dabei wenige Lehrbücher eine maßgebliche Rolle spielen? In den letzten Jahren sind nun ausgerechnet diese Lehrbücher national wie international in die Kritik geraten. Sie verstellten nicht nur durch ihre Weltferne den Blick auf die realen Prozesse der globalisierten Wirtschaft.
Lukas Bäuerle
added a project goal
Economics is a typical example of a Kuhnian textbook science. Textbooks are not only the dominant didactical medium of its study programmes, they also offer a device of self-assurance for the entire discipline. Hence, content, design, history and the political economy of economics textbooks are of paramount importance to understand the disciplinary reproduction of economics.