Austerity discourses in "Der Spiegel" magazine, 2009-2014

  • Yiannis Mylonas National Research University, Higher School of Economics
Keywords: neoliberalism, EU, crisis, austerity, Der Spiegel, Greece, Germany


This article looks at the ways mainstream media discuss austerity and its failure to reach its proclaimed goals, to reduce public debt and to boost productivity in the heavily indebted countries of the Eurozone’s periphery. This study analyzed Der Spiegel’s articles presenting the crisis and austerity in Europe, focusing on the Greek case, from 2009 until 2014. A thematic analysis was developed in the study a broad corpus of articles, focusing on the main ideas they unfold. Deploying critical political economy literature, critical cultural theory and critical media studies literature, the article criticizes the neoliberal hegemony of the EU’s crisis politics and foregrounds the role of mainstream media, including progressivist or objectivist ones such as Spiegel, in the reproduction of neoliberal ideas that expand far beyond the crisis, to produce the institutions, social relations, beliefs and subjectivities for a post-crisis configuration of capitalism. The article concludes that Spiegel, like other mainstream media, produce a biopolitical policing of the crisis’ exceptionalized subjects (the citizens of indebted countries) and the implementation of crisis-politics by creating a public “structure of feeling” related to the hegemonic crisis’ rationales. These rationales are further connected to the development of the new neoliberal subjectivity, which is an objective of the crisis-reforms, such as austerity regimes. In effect, mainstream media discourses reproduce the hegemonic frames of the crisis and austerity, while negating the possibility of new narratives to emerge in the crisis context.

Author Biography

Yiannis Mylonas, National Research University, Higher School of Economics
Assistant Professor, Media, Communication adn Design Department, National research University, Higher School of Economics