Shaping the Market: CNBC and the Discourses of Financialization

Open Access
Heresco, Aaron John
Graduate Program:
Mass Communications
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
October 14, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Matthew Frank Jordan, Dissertation Advisor/Co-Advisor
  • Matthew Frank Jordan, Committee Chair/Co-Chair
  • Charles Elavsky, Committee Member
  • Alan M Sica, Committee Member
  • Matthew Mc Allister, Committee Member
  • Discourse
  • Financialization
  • CNBC
This research examines the discursive construction of financialization and financial markets as represented on the cable network CNBC. Following the financial crisis of 2008, discourses of an about finance became legible throughout the social body. From calls for austerity to understandings of the range of social and political possibles, financial markets were an increasingly important cultural force. Financial markets, however, are neither natural nor inevitable, and an analysis of the ways in which these markets and their participants are constituted enlists the Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) as a critical site in the cultural circuit of finance capitalism. How CNBC functions as both a financial entity in its own right, as well as a site of discursive production and distribution about finance, positions the network as an important site for the study of financial discourses. A critical discourse analysis of CNBC content highlighted a number of themes regarding market discourses: namely pertaining to ludo-finance, a financial pedagogy, new spatial and temporal social conceptions, and a ritualistic and religious attitude toward financial markets. Thinking through the implications of financial representations will only become more important as the institutions and discourses of finance increasingly structure the cultural, social, and political world.