Framing the Economy

What is the story of the economy in Britain? Who gets to shape public opinion about what it’s for, how it’s broken and why?  We want to help civil society communicate and organise more effectively, to help bring about the changes needed to move to a sustainable, equitable and democratic economy.

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Over the next 2 years, PIRC is partnering with the New Economics Foundation, the New Economy Organisers Network and the FrameWorks Institute to find out how people across the UK think about the economy and how civil society campaigners can use this understanding to better communicate.

In the coming months, we’ll organise interviews, surveys, focus groups and literature reviews, working alongside a network of campaigners and communicators to help apply this research to areas such as housing, energy and tax.

An economy is a collection of a human systems invented to help us harness resources to provide for human needs, inside or outside the marketplace. The way people think about these systems is deeply affected by what stories (explicitly or implicitly) of the economy are told, how often, and by whom. It’s subject rich in metaphor (economy as a pie, household budget or force of nature) and linked to our deeper beliefs about how the world works (who has power and why, how wealth is created, what’s the role of Government etc.)

We’re interested not in word smithing or message tinkering, but in helping civil society actors craft and enact a powerful new story about the economy.

Get in touch!
If you would like to find out more about this project, contact Bec Sanderson:

Latest Framing the Economy posts:


Can you help reframe the economy?

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Call out for literature!

PIRC, New Economics Foundation, NEON and the Frameworks Institute are starting an 18 month project on Framing the Economy, helping social movements tell a better, more compelling story about what our economy is for, how it’s broken, and how we can fix it. It’s an ambitious project and we want to kick off with a review of what research is out there already so that we don’t reinvent the wheel.

Can you help?

The big question we’re asking is: How does the British public think about the economy? And, to break that down ever so slightly: what do people think, and why?  We’re trying to understand how people interpret new information on the economy, through the filter of existing knowledge, beliefs, values and emotions.

If you have access to any reports or research findings on this (rather broad) topic, we’re casting the net wide, so please help us by filling out this quick and easy form!

These are some of the specific areas we’re interested in:

    • Beliefs – what beliefs do people use to interpret information on the economy? i.e. beliefs relating to society, human nature, ethics, wealth, power etc.
    • Trust – who is trusted to talk about the economy and where do people typically get information and news about it?
    • Moveability – when do opinions about the economy shift, and why?
    • Audience – how does thinking about the economy change, based on people’s demographic or economic background?
    • Framing – what research has already been done to understand the stories that are told (or stories that could be told) about the economy?

Please send us what you can. We’re focusing on the British public in particular, but do send us sources from other cultures if you know of something excellent that we should be aware of.

The form, again: http://publicinterest.org.uk/framing-economy-literature/

And if you want to chat about this project,