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Emplotment in the social mediatization of the economy: The poly-storying of economist Yanis Varoufakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage @ Internet
Volume16
StatePublished - 3 Jan 2019

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Abstract

In the context of the Eurozone crisis the economy gained centre stage in a multitude of ordinary users' engagements on social media. Prompted by this, we propose a narrative perspective on the social mediatization of the economy informed by small stories research. We examine the intense mediatization of Yanis Varoufakis, former Minister of Finance of Greece (2015) as a case of media-afforded emplotment. We show that incidents involving Varoufakis in his negotiations with members of the Eurogroup are singled out as emblematic events, shared as breaking news, and satirically reworked, i.e., rescripted, mainly on YouTube and Twitter. Such rescriptings place him and the Greek economy in popular culture scenarios of one-to-one clashes and fights. Combined with iterated quotes (e.g., "you just killed the troika") and incongruous couplings (e.g., the Minister of Awesome), they lead to a widely available positioning of him as an unorthodox Minister of Finance. This affords and is afforded by what we call poly-storying, i.e., possibilities for bringing together multiple different plots and for the users' multiple modes of participation in them. An emplotment lens can enrich our understanding of 'lay,’ mass engagements with the economic crisis and political life beyond (sociolinguistic) accounts of the vernacularization of the public sphere.

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