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Fearing fear: gender and economic discourse
Mind & Society (2014)
  • Julie A. Nelson, University of Massachusetts Boston
Economic discourse—or the lack of it—about fear is gendered on at least three fronts. First, while masculine-associated notions of reason and mind have historically been prioritized in mainstream economics, fear—along with other emotions and embodiment—has tended to be culturally associated with femininity. Research on cognitive “gender schema,” then, may at least partly explain the near absence of discussions of fear within economic research. Second, in the extremely rare cases where fear and emotion are alluded to within the contemporary economics literature on risk aversion, there is a tendency to (overly-)strongly associate them with women. Finally, historians and philosophers of science have suggested that the failure to consider the full range of human emotions and experience may be itself rooted in fear: a fear of the feminine. This aversion to discussing fear—especially fear as experienced by men—contributes to serious problems, especially in regard to financial market instability and ecological threats.
  • Cognitive schema,
  • Fear,
  • Gender,
  • Risk aversion,
  • Stereotypes
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Citation Information
Julie A. Nelson. "Fearing fear: gender and economic discourse" Mind & Society (2014)
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