Some thoughts on “New Directions and Cutting-Edges in IPE, IR and elsewhere”

Angus Cameron

As someone who myself is inclined to drop the ‘i’, [Juanita’s piece on ‘New Directions …’] is an interesting post. I like inclusive, but also interpersonal, interdisciplinary, impudent, irrational, irreverent and no doubt many others. Over the years I’ve ended up either replacing it with something closer to what I was actually doing in a particular context – e.g. libidinal political economy – or, increasingly simply dropping it altogether. The latter arises from trying to avoid disciplinary/methodological location because of the baggage that inevitably carries with it. Admittedly this is a lot easier to do if one moves away from IR/IPE, because there is no longer the same pressure to validate ones argument in disciplinary terms (even if it does confuse referees, the poor things). More positively, it arises from a desire to put the ‘problem’ at the centre of what we’re doing rather than impose artificial academy-inspired limits from the outset. And this seems to me all the more important if we are fully to embrace the possibilities offered by feminist, queer and other approaches which are all too often still systematically excluded from ‘proper’ disciplinary endeavour. (Proper, here, as defined by institutional or departmental committees playing it safe for REF panels and equivalents). Indeed, I’d go as far as to suggest that feminist, queer, etc approaches are fundamentally incompatible with disciplinarity in any form. This is not to imagine that the disciplines are about to disappear, but that these alternative approaches need to demonstrate their superior powers of explanation, analysis and interpretation and then feed that back into the disciplines to better educate them.

Beyond that, the idea that feminist theory can still be considered a ‘new direction’ for IR/IPE is utterly depressing. If it (present company excepted of course) hasn’t managed to lurch in that direction in the (at least) 20 years that it has been available, it’s probably time to ditch IR/IPE……

[This originally appeared as a comment on Juanita’s post and has in turn been mentioned in Tiina’s but, as this blog is not a fan of such routine matters as ‘chronology’ or ‘coherence’, it is reposted here by Nicki with Angus’ rather tenuous consent].

2 thoughts on “Some thoughts on “New Directions and Cutting-Edges in IPE, IR and elsewhere”

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