Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The 2013 Warwick/RIPE Debate

. Tuesday, May 28, 2013

You can find the video here. The main figures are Cornelia Woll -- one of the editors of the Review of International Political Economy -- and John Hobson -- who has two historiographical articles [1, 2] on IPE in the 20th anniversary issue of RIPE.*

It's an interesting discussion of the sort that you would never hear in most mainstream American IPE departments. Perhaps for that reason they could have done more to highlight criticisms of OEP from within the American IPE tradition (other than Cohen), especially since the stated mission of RIPE is to promote a dialogue among the various strands of IPE. Obviously the Reductionist Gamble is what I have in mind, but it's not the only one. This "debate" did basically none of that.

One of the questioners kind of got at this. If RIPE is going to be heterodox, then what does that mean? Just a constructivist alternative to the rationalist approaches published in IO? Woll said that she didn't know what the orthodox was so she couldn't be sure of what the heterodox would be, but earlier she singled out OEP particularly. Hobson drove that nail in. So then the heterodox would just be anything that isn't OEP? It's not clear.

Neither Woll nor Hobson even hinted at the possibility that a broadly positivist alternative to OEP was conceivable, or that it could be an ally for non-positivist approaches. This is (a) problematic.

On Hobson's presentation I have two thoughts: a) He is almost surely correct about the history; b) I'm not really sure how much that matters for forward-looking analyses. But I'll need to read the articles first to be sure.

*The issue has not been released yet, I don't think, but Hobson's contributions are available on early view at the links above.


The 2013 Warwick/RIPE Debate




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