Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by Akademie Verlag November 23, 2016

Politik als Krankheit

Organisch-medizinische Metaphern im Grenzziehungsdiskurs zwischen Wirtschaft und Politik im 20. Jahrhundert

Stefan Scholl


The article investigates the ways in which organic-medical metaphors were used to set the boundary of discourse between the economy and politics. The successful establishment of organic-medical metaphors for the economy is mainly explained by their connectivity to different political views. Concepts such as ‘Wirtschaftsleben’ or perceptions of the economy as an ‘organism’ laid the foundation for diagnosing sick or healthy conditions. From the end of the 19th to beyond the mid-20th century typical statements illustrate that the use of such metaphors supported the naturalization and stabilization of the boundary-setting discourse, insofar as it seemed natural that the relation between the two spheres should be formulated in terms of health and disease. Within liberal economic discourse in particular, politics was on the one hand targeted as a potential cause for economic disease, while on the other, it was claimed that politics had the task of keeping economic forces healthy.

JEL Classification: B 00; N 43; N 44
Published Online: 2016-11-23
Published in Print: 2016-11-1

© 2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston