Leaving the mainstream behind? Uncovering subjective understandings of economics instructors' roles

Katarzyna Gruszka, Annika Regine Scharbert, Michael Soder

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

In the wake of the economic crisis, a number of student organizations and researchers highlighted the lack of pluralism and heterodox approaches in economics curricula. The relevance of pluralism becomes clear once set within the implications of a given scientific discourse on reality (e.g. economics and policy making). This study explores the role of instructors in co-constructing the pluralism discourse and debates, while recognizing the role of institutional obstacles to change within the discipline. An empirical field study is conducted with lecturers in introductory economics courses at the WU Vienna University of Economics and Business where they place themselves within the pluralism discourse via a Q-study - a mixed method employed for studying subjectivity in socially contested topics. In Q, a set of statements undergo a sorting procedure on a relative ranking scale, followed by factor-rendering. Four voices are identified: Moderate Pluralist, Mainstreamers, Responsible Pluralists, and Applied Pluralists. The implications of their ideas are discussed from the viewpoint of discursive institutionalism, stressing the role of ideas and discourse in institutional change. Although a discursive readiness for changes towards more pluralism is claimed, strategies for overcoming the difficulties on the institutional level need to be developed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485 - 498
JournalEcological Economics
Volume131
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Cite this