Twenty-first-century International Political Economy: a class-relational perspective

Selwyn, Benjamin (2015) Twenty-first-century International Political Economy: a class-relational perspective. European Journal of International Relations, 21 (3). pp. 513-537. ISSN 1354-0661

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The nature, subject matter and future direction of International Political Economy has been opened up for debate following interventions by Benjamin Cohen, John Hobson and special issues of the Review of International Political Economy and New Political Economy. Most contributors to the debate are dissatisfied with the current state of International Political Economy and desire to identify the ‘Big Questions’ of the 21st century. This article argues, however, that all contributors miss the ‘Really Big Question’ of the 21st century: the rise of a planetary labouring class of over 3 billion (and counting), living, for the most part, in poverty or near-poverty. While this class’s existence is not new (although its size is), International Political Economy’s ignorance of it is as old as the discipline’s institutional formation. This article shows that mainstream International
Political Economy’s sidelining of class relations disables it from explaining the global systemic transformations that underpin changes in the relations between states and markets (International Political Economy’s traditional focus). It illustrates the long-term making of the global labouring class by discussing three examples of global systemic transformation: the rise of capitalism; the post-1945 embedded liberalism–development project conjuncture; and contemporary globalisation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Arab uprisings, development support, European Union, Michel Foucault, neoliberal governmentality, North Africa.
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Depositing User: Jayne Paulin
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2015 15:13
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2016 11:44
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