Does orthodoxy of knowledge polarize social anchoring?: Representations of the market as a function of academic major and subjective knowledge in Economics

  • Regis Scheidegger University of Lausanne
  • Thomas Tüscher University of Lausanne


This research examines hegemonic social representations of the economic system as a function of academic majors and subjective knowledge in economics. The results evidenced that studying social and political sciences (N = 205) and literature (N = 190), was linked to hierarchy attenuating orientation, and geared to a subversive stance towards the market. In contrast, majoring in business (N = 140) and law (N = 98) was linked to a weaker hierarchy attenuating orientation, and led to a market legitimizing stance. Moreover, subjective knowledge in economics polarized these effects primarily in majors in which economic issues were of academic interest, that is, in business and social and political sciences. This research, which sought to articulate hierarchy enhancing/attenuating beliefs with hegemonic/subversive social representations, highlights the function of the orthodoxy of knowledge in the academic anchoring of social representations.

Author Biographies

Regis Scheidegger, University of Lausanne

REGIS SCHEIDEGGER is a Senior FNS researcher in Social Psychology at the
University of Lausanne in Switzerland. His current research focuses on political
attitudes and social representations. He is also working with Christian Staerklé and Tiina Likki within the framework of a European Science Foundation research
program (HumVIB: Human Values, Institutions and Behaviour) on Welfare attitudes in Europe directed by Stefan Svallfors (Umeå University, Sweden).

Thomas Tüscher, University of Lausanne

THOMAS TÜSCHER is a Graduate Assistant at the University of Lausanne. He is
doing a PhD thesis with Christian Staerklé on the articulation between stereotypical
antagonisms and social representations of the social order. His current research also
focuses on political attitudes and social representations.

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