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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities

Julie A. Nelson


Julie A. Nelson is a member of the Economics faculty at the University of Massachusetts Boston, USA. She is the author of Economics for Humans (2006), Feminism, Objectivity, and Economics (1996), and other books, and many articles in journals including Econometrica, American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Hypatia: Journal of Feminist Philosophy, and Journal of Political Philosophy. Nelson received her Ph.D. degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1986. She was a founding board member of the International Association for Feminist Economics and is an Associate Editor of the journal Feminist Economics.

Gender, Metaphor, and Economics

Economists' analyses of commercial activity and related public policies are often represented as rigorous and scientifically sound. But what if we make economics itself the subject of analysis? This talk will argue that Anglo-American economic analysis, both academic and popular, is itself a cultural artifact, heavily colored by metaphorical connections to masculine-associated individuality, self-interest, and rationality. The simultaneous widespread anxiety in the U.S. about the loss of traditional family structures can be seen as a predictable reaction to this vision of an atomistic commercial world. A less dualistic, feminist understanding of the relationships involved in economic life is suggested as a less biased and more useful alternative.