Communication & Global Power| Market Panics and the Limits of National Power and Authority: An Argumentative Analysis of the 2011 Italian Debt Crisis

Laura Alberti, Thomas Hollihan


An ongoing and prolonged debt crisis has undermined the authority of and confidence in the euro and in the European Union itself. A deep recession has diminished the dreams and opportunities for many people in those nations that experienced the highest rates of unemployment and falling property values. Mediated accounts of the crisis sparked fears throughout Europe that the contagion might spread. This article examines the crisis as it impacted Italy in 2011. The crisis demonstrated the inadequacy of institutional frameworks to end the panic and challenged the authority of national and EU leaders to protect the interests of citizens while responding to the demands of the hyperconnected global financial marketplace. The article considers how the trajectories of public discourse created to meet the demands of different argument spheres resulted in unanticipated outcomes that fueled rather than contained the market panics.


Italy debt crisis, euro zone, European Union, globalization and finance, marketplace panics

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