Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Contexto Internacional]]> http://www.scielo.br/rss.php?pid=0102-852920150003&lang=es vol. 37 num. 3 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.br/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.br <![CDATA[Towards a global conversation]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-85292015000300835&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[Introduction]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-85292015000300839&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[Benjamin Cohen on global political order: when Keynes meets realism - and beyond]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-85292015000300851&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Abstract This article analyses the trajectory of Benjamin J. Cohen's work by focusing on his ongoing concern with the nature and governance of world order. It does so by playing out his debt to realism and to Keynesianism. In a first moment, Cohen criticises the economic determinism of dependency scholarship, while turning to political realism, and then to possible Keynesian co-operation under anarchy: agents have the power to affect positive change. Later, Cohen the disillusioned Keynesian, watching how the possible reform of financial markets is marginalised by politicians and academics alike, shifts his analysis to more structural aspects of governance or rule that affect actors' preferences. I draw two conclusions. First, in this shift towards theorising the global political order away from steering capacity towards impersonal rule and bias, Cohen also questions the very setup of the theories with which we deal with that world - only to see that this very inspiration of original IPE is abandoned in the course of the ongoing 'professionalisation' of IPE as practised in the United States. Second, his analysis seems to incorporate a warning. The underlying grand question is nothing less than the bargain between capitalism and liberal democracy as we know it, since the present system undermines equality before the law - money trumps equal political rights - and undermines democratic accountability. One of the main achievements of the post-war Keynesian turn was the reappropriation of political space from anti-democratic forces. Therefore, the decline of Keynesianism could provoke a Polanyian nightmare in which the 'double movement' by which the laissez-faire is answered by moves to protect society does not strengthen democracies, as in earlier times of 'embedded liberalism', but undermines them instead. <![CDATA[A problem with levels: how to engage a diverse IPE]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-85292015000300889&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Abstract Though welcome, Cohen's call for exchange across diverse perspectives in international political economy (IPE) evades the question: why have we remained unaware of or insensitive to the diversity that already exists? We follow John Hobson's claim that racism, imperialism and Eurocentrism disallow a western-dominated social science from engaging with diverse viewpoints. We argue further that a disciplinary bias towards a unit-level or atomistic understanding of social science precludes and disallows epistemological encounters in which actual diversity might be harnessed. We support this claim in two steps. First, we draw on Ghassan Hage's analysis of exigophobia, or the fear that social explanation inadvertently justifies horrendous actions and humanises their perpetrators. Exigophobia activates what we call the condemnation imperative: an eagerness to condemn an individual or group act, of fierce violence, for example, before one has tried to understand or explain it. Second, building on Nicholas Onuf's work on levels, we show that the disciplinary bias towards explanations which 'see' from the level of individual actors treats Europe or the west, in Hobson's terms, as 'self-constituting and exceptional'. When one neglects the structuring features of the whole, and assumes western 'pioneering agency', it is easy to treat non-western inferiority (irrationality, backwards culture, and so on) as an explanation of the relative successes and failures of a flattened planet of autonomous units. Though we endorse forms of social explanation that start from the whole as opposed to the parts, we favour the view that there are only simultaneous and continuous processes whose seeming mystical flow our descriptions cannot but freeze. We suggest that there are no levels, simply parts and wholes in process. <![CDATA[Is IPE just 'boring',<sup>1</sup> or committed to problematic meta-theoretic|al assumptions? A critical engagement with the politics of method]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-85292015000300913&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Abstract In my contribution to this forum on IPE, my aim is to add further to the critical interventions in the debate ignited by Benjamin Cohen. The call to discuss the state of IPE has been timely, though not only because (some) IPE journals have indeed become uninteresting; much more is at stake. Intellectual debate in the field has now not only narrowed, but has also shifted away from engaging the underlying premises of (global) development, inequalities, and relations of domination. As such, the mainstream framing of IPE is arguably also implicated in a project of 'gate-keeping'. This is not to say that the intellectual richness and creativity that Cohen has called for in the study of IPE does not exist; such work is pursued by scholars of IR, more broadly conceived, and not just by those in other disciplines. Such richer scholarship has for instance, been advanced by historical sociologists, postcolonial theorists, and critical scholars of global development/global political economy including many working from feminist political-economic perspectives. The absence of an engagement with such perspectives in the mainstream of IPE can perhaps be explained to some extent by reference to ideological dispositions and attempts to maintain a hold on the disciplinary core along epistemological and methodological premises committed to ostensibly power-free and value-free analysis. The consequences are felt, as Cohen notes, also in the context of training and preparing future generations of IPE scholars, where current practices tend to reproduce students unable to 'ask and respond to the big questions', and who have instead come to be satisfied with applying 'accepted' methods. Critical scholars, on the other hand, have continuously pushed beyond the analytical and theoretical boundaries, engaging for example, with questions of power, domination and resistance, and more often than not such analyses are grounded in empirical research. In this contribution, I aim to demonstrate, through a critical reconstructive sketch, how mainstream IPE falls short, and what the value is of alternative, relationally conceived, analytical approaches. <![CDATA[Theorising international monetary relations: three questions about the significance of materiality]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-85292015000300945&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Abstract This article engages a conversation with Benjamin Cohen by raising three questions about the significance of materiality. The paper's questions focus on how materiality can be included in theorizations so that its political import is not defined away from the outset. The article does this focussing on Cohen's treatment of electronic money and its significance for the Politics of International Monetary Relations. The first question posed is about ontology, the second about agency and the third about the scope of politics. The three questions are raised as a conversation in which arguments and counterarguments are advanced. The questions are therefore posed with Cohen's contributions to theorizing the political significance of materiality as their point of departure. They are formulated as a consequence of bringing these contributions in relation to insights from the Social Studies of Finance. From this perspective it would seem that a more far reaching engagement with materiality (in terms of ontology, agency and epistemology) is necessary to capture its political significance for international monetary politics and currency hierarchies. The article does not conclude in conventional fashion but purposefully strives to leave these questions open for discussion. <![CDATA[Globalising the classical foundations of IPE thought]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-85292015000300975&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Abstract Current efforts to teach and research the historical foundations of IPE thought in classical political economy in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries centre largely on European and American thinkers. If a more extensive 'global conversation' is to be fostered in the field today, the perspectives of thinkers in other regions need to be recognised, and brought into the mainstream of its intellectual history. As a first step towards 'globalising' the classical foundations of IPE thought, this article demonstrates some ways in which thinkers located beyond Europe and the United States engaged with and contributed to debates associated with the three well-known classical traditions on which current IPE scholarship often draws: economic liberalism, economic nationalism and Marxism. It also reveals the extensive nature of 'global conversations' about IPE issues in this earlier era. <![CDATA['Out in the dark': knowledge, power and IPE in southern Africa]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-85292015000301011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Abstract Benjamin Cohen's disciplinary history of international political economy (IPE) begins with the premise that Africa has had little to contribute to this global discipline. Differing from this view, we argue that disciplinary histories such as Cohen's elide the relationship between the discipline and its field. It is only through the juxtaposition of knowledge, power and politics that we can arrive at a fuller historical understanding of theinternational political economy. We further argue that political economy as an intellectual project has been central to the creation of the political economy of southern Africa. In a historical narrative of this idea in this region, we demonstrate that states and markets have remained prisoners of their mainstream intellectual manifestations, although subversive lives of political economy persist in some critical corners. <![CDATA[A global conversation: rethinking IPE in post-hegemonic scenarios]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-85292015000301041&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Abstract Benjamin Cohen has provoked us into a global conversation aimed at unwrapping the practice and study of IPE. In this article, we build upon his powerful notion of geography as politics, and engage afresh with the role of regions as correctives to debates on developmental strategies and trajectories in the global political economy. We share Cohen's view that 'how we conceive of space has a real impact on how we think about rule-making' (1998: 10), and argue that regions take shape iteratively via social and political processes that differ both temporally and geographically. As such, the key question for IPE is not whether regionalism exists, but rather what kind of regional governance is taking shape, and how it fits into IPE's globalist soul-searching. With this in mind, we analyse various conceptions of regions over time, from spheres of influence to governance actors, marking important differences (in symbolic, practical and institutional terms) in relation to experiments of the past. In doing so, we seek to underline at least the value of giving greater attention to the place of regions and regionalism in IPE's global conversation. <![CDATA[A concluding note]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-85292015000301069&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Abstract Benjamin Cohen has provoked us into a global conversation aimed at unwrapping the practice and study of IPE. In this article, we build upon his powerful notion of geography as politics, and engage afresh with the role of regions as correctives to debates on developmental strategies and trajectories in the global political economy. We share Cohen's view that 'how we conceive of space has a real impact on how we think about rule-making' (1998: 10), and argue that regions take shape iteratively via social and political processes that differ both temporally and geographically. As such, the key question for IPE is not whether regionalism exists, but rather what kind of regional governance is taking shape, and how it fits into IPE's globalist soul-searching. With this in mind, we analyse various conceptions of regions over time, from spheres of influence to governance actors, marking important differences (in symbolic, practical and institutional terms) in relation to experiments of the past. In doing so, we seek to underline at least the value of giving greater attention to the place of regions and regionalism in IPE's global conversation. <![CDATA[The politics of algorithmic finance]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-85292015000301081&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Abstract Benjamin Cohen has provoked us into a global conversation aimed at unwrapping the practice and study of IPE. In this article, we build upon his powerful notion of geography as politics, and engage afresh with the role of regions as correctives to debates on developmental strategies and trajectories in the global political economy. We share Cohen's view that 'how we conceive of space has a real impact on how we think about rule-making' (1998: 10), and argue that regions take shape iteratively via social and political processes that differ both temporally and geographically. As such, the key question for IPE is not whether regionalism exists, but rather what kind of regional governance is taking shape, and how it fits into IPE's globalist soul-searching. With this in mind, we analyse various conceptions of regions over time, from spheres of influence to governance actors, marking important differences (in symbolic, practical and institutional terms) in relation to experiments of the past. In doing so, we seek to underline at least the value of giving greater attention to the place of regions and regionalism in IPE's global conversation.