Financialization and UK Chancellor Rhetoric, 1976-2013

Walsh, Mary Catherine. 2013. Financialization and UK Chancellor Rhetoric, 1976-2013. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

How, and how intentionally, have UK chancellors used their rhetoric to support financialization? The scholarly contributions of this thesis are (1) providing a history of chancellor rhetoric about finance, (2) describing how chancellors used their rhetoric to establish, propagate, and protect financialization, and (3) illustrating how chancellors' rhetoric indicated their pro-financialization intentions. Scholars of financialization and the state have speculated that the state has participated in discourses for financialization, but they have not investigated the historical progress of state-elite communication. Furthermore, the macro-economic frameworks used have had difficulty assessing elite intention, and institutionally-focused research can under-appreciate the agency of individuals in history. I conducted a longitudinal, qualitative analysis of the rhetoric of budget statements delivered between 1976 and 2013, supported this with quantitative, corpus-linguistic techniques, and interpreted my findings in light of the historical development of financialization in the UK. At financialization's establishment, Healey's rhetoric was explicitly ante-financialization yet implicitly proto-financialization, especially in terms of industry, while Howe's rhetoric was radically pro-financialization, especially in terms of finance and mass enrolment in it. During the two financialized booms, Lawson strengthened Howe's rhetoric, while Brown mimicked Lawson and Howe and constructed the financialized economy as secure and stable. During the first financialized bust, Major employed very awkward constructions in order to avoid admitting that finance and debt had made the UK economy vulnerable. Darling explicitly defended finance more vigorously than any chancellor, and constructed a state-sponsored right-to-credit. Osborne followed Darling, and also used his new Office of Budgetary Responsibility as an apolitical, expert guarantor in his rhetoric, mediating between financial markets and the Treasury. Since 1976 these UK chancellors have actively and intentionally supported the process of financialization with their public rhetoric by intentionally constructing descriptions in aid of financialization's establishment, propagation, and protection.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies



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Date Deposited:

03 Mar 2014 15:46

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 10:22


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