Mind the Gap

Seventeen Sightings of the “Social” in Economic Development Policy Writing

in The International Journal of Social Quality
Ramond Apthorpe London School of Economics and Political Science arap.torp@gmail.com

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Semantic codes constitute the world (or parts of it), not in a mechanistic “cause-and-effect” sense but through another type of linkage. This article explores some of the semantic code, the “semantic DNA,” of mainstream neoclassical economic development policy thinking and writing and looks at what that mode of thinking incorporates into its discourse as “social.” The various forms of the “social” in economics discourse add up, from a sociologist’s viewpoint, to disappointingly little: they mainly consist of a miscellaneous set of noneconomic aspects that mainstream economic thinking can use to blame for the policy-performance gap between what such thinking promises and what it often actually delivers.

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The International Journal of Social Quality

(formerly The European Journal of Social Quality)


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