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The Methodological Foundations of Political Economy: A Historical Survey and Theoretical Critique

  • 인문논총
  • 2013, 32(), pp.133-168
  • Publisher : Institute for Human studies, Kyungnam University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Published : October 31, 2013

Joo-Hyoung Ji 1

1경남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study locates various currents in political economy in their historical and methodological contexts to reveal their historical conditions and theoretically categorize and critique them. The history of political economy can be characterized as the struggle between political, social, institutional, and historical methods and abstract, mathematical, and modelling methods around the problem of how to relate politics and economy. Through this struggle, political economy has developed a number of competing and contrasting methodological foundations:reductionism(economism and politicism), soft economic sociology and political economy including eclecticism and separatism on the one hand,and hard political economy, post national global political economy, and cultural political economy on the other. In its earliest stage, political economy did not fully abandon political analysis although its main role was to provide theoretical grounds for liberal governmentalities and policies in line with the(supposedly) autonomous logic of the economic sphere. However, soon it broke with its origins and transformed into(allegedly) politics free economics or even economic analyses of political phenomena. Then this transformation brought about reactions such as eclecticism, politicism or political reductionism. Nonetheless, political economy also developed hard political economic methods for analyzing political, historical, institutional nature of the economic and social order as well as global analysis beyond the national scale. However, conventional hard political economy tend to neglect political analysis as well as the global dimensions of the political economy in its actual practice. Post-national or global political economy tends to neglect the symbolic and cultural dimensions of the economy and naturalize economic categories such as market, capital, money,commodity, profit, competitiveness and crisis as if they were pre-given rather than being socially constructed. From this perspective, this article suggests global cultural political economy as a methodological orientation by combining hard political economy, global political economy and cultural political economy.

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.