political economic

Financial markets and authoritative proximity in personal finance magazines

Roei Davidson

This study investigates how mediated discourse about finance developed in the USA in parallel to the shift from a corporate liberal political economic order to a neoliberal one. This is done by analyzing two personal finance magazines, Money and Kiplinger’s, utilizing both critical discourse analysis and longitudinal quantitative content analysis (1947–2008). I find that at the core of this discursive environment lies the phenomenon of authoritative proximity, which positions the magazines as trusted advisors guiding the audience, a collection of individuals, towards financial autonomy through immersion in financial markets. Authoritative proximity is constituted by second person address forms, imperative mood and paratactic syntax – all elements whose salience rises over time. This discourse, which makes the abstract financial system increasingly more concrete and focused on the individual, is compatible with the emergence of a neoliberal political economy.