I see Emmanuel has posted about what he calls “White Political Economy”: “I'm sorry to say that mainstream IPE--like much social science, to be fair--suffers from the phenomenon of Lots of Monolingual White Guys at American and British Universities Talking to Each Other and Calling It "International." Emmanuel continues, “To be truly worthy of the term "international," I believe you must have certain things like a diversity of backgrounds, ethnicities, experiences, genders, outlooks and perspectives.”
I am of two minds here. I agree that contemporary political economy is dominated by guys at American universities (and maybe British too) talking to and writing for each other. I also agree (and indeed argue on record) that the mainstream conversation is conducted within excessively and dangerously narrow theoretical and empirical channels. And I agree that those who do not embrace this perspective—who don’t (as Emmanuel puts it), “suck up to” the big names—tend to be outsiders. Finally, I agree with Emmanuel’s implicit statement that a more diverse political economy would be a better political economy.
However, I don’t agree that the solution lies in a diversification of the ethno-linguistic and gender characteristics of the practitioners. Sure, I value the diversification of the profession along ethnic and gender lines. No, I disagree with Emmanuel because the solution he proposes is based on the very analytic structure he deplores--individualism. The recruitment of a more diverse population into graduate school will not solve the problem because systemic forces dominate individual attributes. As Emmanuel points out, one doesn’t succeed in academics by being different; one succeeds by being only a tiny bit different from everyone else. And so we recruit students into graduate school and proceed to make them think like the typical political economist. We call this socialization; and we are quite self conscious about it. And because the field as it is currently structured is dominated by a single point of view, we train students in a single point of view, the perspective that Emmanuel criticizes as "economistic mid-level theory".
If we want a more diverse IPE, as Emmanuel and I do, then we must offer a compelling alternative to this economistic mid-level theory. If we are not to train our students to think in terms of “economistic mid-level theory,” then how should we train them to think? If we are not to train our students to employ the generalized linear model, then what empirical techniques should we teach them to use? In short, the lack of diversity in contemporary IPE stems not from the failure to recruit an ethnically diverse and gender balanced population of graduate students. No, the absence of diversity stems from the failure of those who disagree with the contemporary mainstream to offer another path.