This book provides a generous immanent description of liberalism, but also works against and looks beyond it. It engages liberalism and its variants in IPE at a moment in time when liberalism and liberal internationalism are experiencing something of a crisis of confidence. Though we are deeply critical of liberalism, especially the variant that dominates in IPE, we picture liberalism as variegated and rife with doubt and tensions that potentially open it to traditions of thinking beyond itself. We also show how these tensions and doubts often prompt attempts at closure in the form of defensive maneuvers, like Eurocentric conceptions of development that justify Western dominance and the condemnation of scholarship that exposes relations of domination and subordination as violating the precepts of unit-level positive science. But recognizing these maneuvers as defensive reactions may help us grasp the moments of greater openness within liberalism that connect to traditions that think against and beyond its central tenets.
David L. Blaney is G. Theodore Mitau Professor of Political Science at Macalester College, USA.
Naeem Inayatullah is Professor of Politics at Ithaca College, USA.
Chapter 1. Liberal Fundamentals: Invisible, Invasive, Artful and Bloody Hands
Chapter 2. Global Capitalism, Inequality, and Poverty
Chapter 3. Liberal IPE as Colonial Science
Chapter 4. Levels, Eurocentrism and Positive Science
Chapter 5. Units, Markets, Relations and Flow
Chapter 6. Complex Societies and Alternative Worlds: Whither the Right to a Share?
The world has changed in many ways in the decade since the global financial crisis. Instead of seeing a liberalism in temporary retreat, Blaney and Inayatullah ask whether liberalism was ever as secure as either a political or an intellectual project as its advocates have traditionally made out. If, as they say, doubts about the liberal world were endemic to the earliest proto-liberal theorists, then we need to know much more about the content of those doubts if we are to make sense of the world in which we find ourselves today.
Within, Against, and Beyond Liberalism analyzes and reflects on the tensions and contradictions within liberalism – and demonstrates how these tensions work themselves out in their methodological and political implications for IR and IPE. It thus speaks directly to the current crisis of the liberal world order and provides excellent resources to reflect on this crisis and to address it in the social sciences.
Within, Against, and Beyond Liberalism is the latest in a string of works by two of IPE’s most careful and thoughtful scholars. The rich menu of engagement provides much food for thought, and the result is a highly productive encounter with the tradition of (international) political economy. This is a long overdue contribution to IPE scholarship that will certainly pay many dividends in years to come.