CDA as Method

This post originally appeared in CDA:Method with a link

This blog is about method in CDA. This might not seem controversial – CDA studies do, after all, employ method, PhDs, books and articles include methodological discussion and there are numerous text books which describe method in CDA.

But there has been a trend recently – seen both at CDA meetings and conferences and in published articles – in which CDA is described as ‘an approach’ or a ‘movement’, and these descriptions are paired with a specific denial of CDA as method. The description of CDA as a movement was used by some contributors to the CDA 20+ meeting a couple of years ago in Amsterdam and, in to pick up one example in print, Baker et al., say this: Continue reading “CDA as Method”

Nudge and the Politics of Wellbeing

Why the ‘Change4Life’ campaign is an anti-obesity ‘nudge’ that glosses over social inequality

The rise of populist politics, evidenced in Brexit and the election of Trump, is sending shockwaves through advanced liberal democracies. Some commentators have diagnosed these developments as a protest at governments’ failure to address the deep social problems which exist in society. In particular, neoliberalism has led to a failure to address social inequality and its corollaries, partly because of fiscal austerity and partly because a creed of free market competition which fears regulatory interventions (even to curb industrial practices that are demonstrably harmful, like the over-production of cheap fat and sugar-laden foods). Unwilling or unable to pay for the spiralling (health and other) costs resulting (directly and indirectly) from these social inequalities, governments eschew social investment in favour of social blame. It is in this context that the concept of ‘nudge’ has gained currency among political elites in the UK and elsewhere. In this commentary I critically examine its use in anti-obesity policy and question the efficacy and morality of an approach which subtly reinforces lines of social inequality through its policy messages. Continue reading “Nudge and the Politics of Wellbeing”