Cognitive Semiotics Seminar: "Shockingly Predictable: The [X-shock] Construction in Macroeconomics" (Todd Oakely, CWRU Cleveland)
Prof. Todd Oakely, a well-known scholar in both cognitive semiotics and cognitive semiotics, is visiting us during September and October, and at this seminar will be presenting some of his latest research, situated at the interface of cognition, language and economics. All are warmly to H402, or on the zoom link (but with cameras on), from 3pm for introductions! Note: There will be a "post-seminar" at the local pub (Valvet) - do let Jordan know by Sept 25 if you plan to join so that we can book a large enough table.
How do economists think and talk about contingency? In a word, they express shock–not in the typical sense of being surprised, dumbfounded, or gob smacked, as one might at touching an electrified fence, or finding a penguin perched on your second-floor windowsill in Northeast Ohio, USA. Current mainstream economists’ expressions of shock are altogether predictable and part of their modeling architecture. An empirical investigation of nominal forms of the [x-shock] construction (e.g., “technology shock,” or “supply shocks”) among economists and monetary authorities reveals a steep increase in usage since the 1980s with a concomitant decrease in its appearance as a finite verb or participle and a simultaneous semantic bleaching out much of the experiential facets of an event’s effect in favor of abstract causation, a lexicalization process we call de-subjectification.
In this talk, I discuss current joint research on based on quantitative analysis of articles from academic economists, influential macroeconomic textbooks, and official documents from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the governing board of the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States. The [X-shock] construction provides a unique window into the different conceptual systems underlying both orthodox and heterodox schools of economic thought, as each school uses to express different conceptions of economic forces and counterforce.