Schools out : Adam Smith and pre-disciplinary international political economy

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Glaze, Simon (2015)

In this article, I argue that invocations of Adam Smith in international political economy (IPE) often reveal the influence therein of a disciplinary ontological disaggregation of economic and non-economic rationality, which I claim is obscured by the tendency to map its complex intellectual contours in terms of competing schools. I trace the origins of the disciplinary characterisation of Smith as the founder of IPE's liberal tradition to invocations of his thought by centrally important figures in the perceived Austrian, Chicago and German historical schools of economics, and reflect upon the significance to IPE of the reiteration of this portrayal by apparent members of its so-called American and British schools. I additionally contrast these interpretations to those put forward by scholars who seek to interpret IPE and Smith's contribution to it in pre-disciplinary terms, which I claim reflects a distinct ontology to that attributed to the British school of IPE with which their work is often associated. I therefore contend that reflection upon invocations of Smith's thought in IPE problematises the longstanding tendency to map its intellectual terrain in terms of competing schools, reveals that the disciplinary ontological consensus that informs this tendency impacts upon articulations of its core concerns and suggests that a pre-disciplinary approach offers an alternative lens through which such concerns might be more effectively framed.\ud
  • References (1)

    Wade, R. H. (2008) 'Globalization, Growth, Poverty, Inequality, Resentment, and Imperialism'. In J. Ravenhill (Ed.) Global political economy, second edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press

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