In the afterword of Capital Marx argued that his method had been little understood. In fact, Marx never really fully explained his method in one place and, moreover, Engels’ attempts to elucidate Marx’s method led to a fruitless dogmatism. Adorno claimed that science following Hegel’s death science moved into two directions: (a) a clear methodology and (b) a philosophy, disrobed of the empirical content on wish – according to Hegel – the intellect had to test itself. The aim of this article is to bridge this gap, and the dialectical method is seen as a significant point of consideration. The goal of the article is not to overcome existing problems in readings of Marx, but to approach International Political Economy (IPE) from the basis of certain neo-Gramscian approaches. In doing so, the article attempts to unpack how this can enrich the existing literature on Marx’s dialectic, including the interpretations of Adorno and Hegel. The article contains three parts. First, it provides an account of the theoretical background of neo- Gramscian IPE. The second section brings theoretical and methodological ideas together to develop a useable dialectic framework for empirical research. Last, the framework will be applied to an empirical case in politics.
Keywords: Ontological Framework, Antonio Gramsci, Dialectic, Research Design
The condition of possibility of the recent rapprochement between China and Taiwan lies in the de-politicisation of economic relations, which in turn is facilitated by a doubling of Cross-Strait relations into apparently separate spheres of civil society and politics. What drives this increasing separation, in what terms can we describe this process, and what are its consequences? This Neo- Gramscian approach traces the bifurcation across the level of ideological production to the underlying social relations. Social forces emerging from transnational relations of production forge a hegemonic project, promoting the formal separation of China-Taiwan relations into seemingly independent social realms. To achieve a critical understanding of this dynamic, the article reconstructs the strategies pursued by these forces and the mechanisms through which they operate. This historical materialist re-conceptualisation of Cross-Strait integration as a contested project rather than a quasi-natural process allows unveiling the inner contradictions and the crisis-prone nature of the specific transnational arrangement that the hegemonic project has assumed. The major internal contradiction of the project lies in the fact that its success to promote the separation of both spheres ultimately rests on an ever closer co-operation of forces from these spheres, undermining the appearance of independent spheres.
Keywords: Hegemony, Cross-Strait relations, Transnational Historical
Materialism, Gramsci, China-Taiwan relations
This article challenges essentialist conceptions of “political Islam” as the ideology of an internally generated rejection of modernity through reconceptualising Ali Shariati’s idea of “revolutionary Islam” as an internationally constituted mediation of modernity. It argues that “the international” was central to Shariati’s artful combination of western and Shi’i-Islamic ideas and concepts. This hybrid character, the article argues, underlay the remarkable political appeal of Shariati’s discourse of revolutionary Islam to broad sections of the population whose subjectivity had, in turn, been re-shaped by the ideological ramifications of the formation of the novel phenomenon of “the citizen-subject”, a hybrid sociological form produced by Iran’s experience of modern uneven and combined development.
Keywords: The Citizen-Subject, International Relations, Iran, Islam,
Shariati, Substitution, Uneven and Combined Development
This article seeks to lay the groundwork for a historical materialist foreign policy analysis. Although there is a huge Marxist literature on especially US imperialism, there is little in the way of systematic empirical research on foreign policy-making from this perspective. Most contributions in this tradition, including more recent ones in the debate on the “new imperialism” are often rather abstract exercises in grand theory – important and insightful but not necessarily directly amenable to empirical research. On the other hand, the radical empirical studies of (US) foreign policy-making that we do have often tend to suffer from a lack of adequate theorization. Seeking to bridge this gap this article first critically reviews the current (and expanding) historical materialist literature on geopolitics (and its link to global capitalism) and then seeks to move beyond that by offering an analytical framework that can be applied to actual empirical research. A theoretical point of departure is that what Harvey identifies as the territorial and capitalist logics of powers are dialectically and hence internally related. But whereas many historical materialists would agree on this abstract notion, the question, however, is not only why but also how (in practice) they are thus related, and how we can thus study the effects of this internal relation. For this, I argue, we need to go beyond positing any abstract logic(s), and analyse the concrete agency of social forces constituting the link between state and capital. I argue that class is the crucial mediating force here and the missing link in much of the literature. A focus on class and class strategy provides us with a basis for a systematic empirical analysis of the concrete processes through which geopolitical strategies of (major) capitalist states are formulated and implemented.
Keywords: Historical Materialist IR, Geopolitics and Social Structure, Capitalist Geopolitics, Class and Geopolitics, Ruling Class Security