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Making empiricism true theory and theory true method: On history, narrative and crisis in the global political economy

Amin Samman
University of Birmingham
Amin Samman
University of Birmingham
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper questions the place of empiricism in International Political Economy (IPE) by framing historiography as an ongoing and contested form of historical action. Focusing on how representations of past events have figured within discussions of the recent financial crisis, it argues that historical interpretation should be seen as a living and socially situated process rather than one that is confined the domain of the history books. This involves a critique of both the meta-historical works of White and Ricoeur, and the political economy literature on the social construction of crises. On the basis of this critique, and through a consideration of empiricism as understood by both Goethe and Deleuze, it goes on to propose an approach to studying narration that focuses on the subjects of global capital and the practices of historical representation through which they come to experience the world economy in the way that they do. It ends with a discussion of how post-positivist empiricism and the project of reflexive theory-construction might contribute to contemporary IPE in general, and to its study of financial crises in particular.