Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why Hasn't Academic IPE Had Anything to Say About the Crisis?

. Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thomas Oatley, who started this blog and still contributes every other month or so, has a guest-post at the Duck of Minerva answering Dan Nexon's question of why no articles of relevance to the global financial crisis have been published in International Organization, the flagship IPE journal. Here's his conclusion:

In short, I would argue that no articles directly relevant to the financial crisis have appeared in IO because the field attaches little value to studying the US crisis in isolation, and the banking crises with which it might share common properties are so infrequent that statistical techniques are unlikely to identify general relationships. As a result, an event of supreme global importance gains very little attention from American IPE scholars.

Kate Weaver -- editor at RIPE -- posted Thomas' contribution at DoM and had some good thoughts of her own. Mark Blyth also had a response. Gist:

Others can talk about intellectual hegemony and the like, but as someone who has sat on a board for many years, I can say its the submissions or lack thereof the is the real killer. Why aren't IPE journals publishing crisis work? Possibly because no one is submitting it? Or because its much more bang for the buck and much faster to publish in Foreign Affairs or on line? ...

The fundamental problem is that IPE imagines a world quite unlike the one we actually inhabit much of the time. As a consequence when we are asked to comment on the world we actually inhabit, we have little to say.

My comment on Nexon's original post was basically what Blyth said: according to Louis Pauly, one of IO's editors speaking at this year's ISA meeting, there haven't been any submissions related to the GFC. It's hard to publish on a topic when you don't have any submissions. In comments to Nexon's original post, Len Seabrooke -- also an editor at RIPE -- said that the lack of submissions is self-selection, and that academics interested in influencing policy are unlikely to look for publication in an academic outlet like IO first.

More generally, this is a marked shift from IPE's early days when the field was focused around questions of complex interdependence. The shift away from that sort of research has been mostly pragmatic and for mostly good reasons, but it isn't unreasonable to think that something has been lost. Robert Keohane called this the "suppression of the 'I' in IPE", and views it with a "gnawing sense of dissatisfaction". It seems that a growing number of scholars feel similarly.


Why Hasn't Academic IPE Had Anything to Say About the Crisis?
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