Challenging the assumptions of ‘mainstream’ International Political Economy (IPE), this Handbook demonstrates the considerable value of critical theory to the discipline through a series of cutting-edge studies. The field of IPE has always had an inbuilt vocation within Historical Materialism, with an explicit ambition to make sense, from a critical standpoint, of the capitalist mode of production as a world system of sometimes paradoxically and sometimes smoothly overlapping states and markets. Having spearheaded the growth of a vigorous critical scholarship in the 1960s and 1970s, however, Marxism and neo-Gramscian approaches became increasingly marginalized over the course of the 1980s. The authors respond to the exposure of limits to mainstream contemporary scholarship in the wake of the onset of the Global Financial Crisis, and provide a comprehensive overview of the field of Critical International Political Economy. Problematizing socioeconomic and political structures, and considering these as potentially transitory and subject to change, the contributors aim not simply to understand a world of conflict, but furthermore to uncover the ways in which purportedly objective analyses reflect the interests of those in positions of privilege and power.
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