RSA May 2012 (Philadelphia) Proposed Panel: Post-Recession Economic Rhetoric and Identity

full name / name of organization: 
J. Banks Smither / College of Charleston
contact email: 

This proposed panel is looking for one or two more members in addition to two already committed for the RSA 2012 conference in Philadelphia next May. Please send 150 word (maximum) abstracts by September 5, 2011 to Please find the preliminary panel description below and I look forward to hearing from anyone interested.

With the global economic recession still at the forefront of global politics and discourse, the burden of determining what the long term effects of the recession are can be partially placed upon the scholarly community. It can be argued that the global community now functions within a post-recession framework in which multiple discourses struggle to determine what happened, why it happened and what has changed. It is precisely at these discursive moments that shifts in identification not only become possible, but become frequent and constant. This panel will seek to explore how economic discourse can be used as a form of identification. Factors such as currency, GDP, distribution of wealth, debt and other economic discourses are used in contemporary society not just as economic gauges, but as a form of identification that global citizens use to determine one's personal and national identity. In examining the rhetoric of post-recession economic discourse, it becomes evident that there is a reframing of well established axioms such as American economic exceptionalism, the power of Western currencies, the benefits of EU membership, American home ownership and many other traditionally accepted economic narratives. The panel seeks to answer how in a post-recession world, these reframing of economic identifications function? What do they mean for a citizen's personal and national identity? How does the rhetoric of economic discourse shape these shifts in identification? Papers will keep the conference's theme of reframing identifications in mind as they will try to grapple with how post-recession economic rhetoric shapes our daily lives by giving us and the global community a wholly new sense of how economies should be considered and function as we try to move forward.