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Placebo TalksModern perspectives on placebos in society$
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Amir Raz and Cory Harris

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199680702

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680702.001.0001

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“Take two and vote in the morning”: reflections on the political placebo effect

“Take two and vote in the morning”: reflections on the political placebo effect

(p.239) Chapter 14 “Take two and vote in the morning”: reflections on the political placebo effect
Placebo Talks

Michael Orsini

Paul Saurette

Oxford University Press

The use of medical metaphors in politics is a well-honed rhetorical strategy. Sometimes these metaphors help clarify the political world; other times, they hide more truth than they reveal. This chapter develops the idea of a “political placebo”—or more precisely, a political placebo effect—and how it can be usefully applied to the social sciences. The authors argue for a conceptualization that embodies a phenomenon in which certain actions and words by political figures (or parties) lead to an observable effect other than that that would have been predicted on the basis of dominant scientific and political models. When applied to political events or developments, such a concept (which includes structures of meaning, emotions, and complex mind–body interactions) helps interpret a variety of situations in which primarily mental stimuli—e.g., language, concepts, policy ideas—have important and observable effects other than those predicted by rational actor theories.

Keywords:   placebo, placebo effect, political placebo, political models, social sciences, rational actor theories, mind–body interactions

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