1st Edition

Cultural Political Economy

Edited By Jacqueline Best, Matthew Paterson Copyright 2010
    264 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    260 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    The global political economy is inescapably cultural. Whether we talk about the economic dimensions of the "war on terror", the sub-prime crisis and its aftermath, or the ways in which new information technology has altered practices of production and consumption, it has become increasingly clear that these processes cannot be fully captured by the hyper-rational analysis of economists or the slogans of class conflict. This book argues that culture is a concept that can be used to develop more subtle and fruitful analyses of the dynamics and problems of the global political economy.

    Rediscovering the unacknowledged role of culture in the writings of classical political economists, the contributors to this volume reveal its central place in the historical evolution of post-war capitalism, exploring its continued role in contemporary economic processes that range from the commercialization of security practices to the development of ethical tourism. The book shows that culture plays a role in both constituting different forms of economic life and in shaping the diverse ways that capitalism has developed historically – from its earliest moments to its most recent challenges.

    Providing valuable insights to a wide range of disciplines, this volume will be of vital interest to students and scholars of International Political Economy, Cultural and Economic Geography and Sociology, and International Relations.

    Introduction: Understanding Cultural Political Economy Jacqueline Best and Matthew Paterson  Part 1: Interrogating the Classics  1. Undressing the Wound of Wealth: Political Economy as a Cultural Project David L. Blaney and Naeem Inayatullah  2. Works, Products, and the Division of Labour: Notes for a Cultural and Political Economic Critique Matt Davies  Part 2: The Cultural Constitution of Economic History  3. ‘To the Ends of the Earth’: Culture, Visuality and the Embedded Economy Rob Aitken  4. The Culture of Money Doctoring: American Financial Advising in Latin America During the 1940s Eric Helleiner  Part 3: Culture as Concealing Political Economic Practices  5. Anti-Political Economy: Cartographies of ‘Illegal Immigration’ and The Displacement of the Economy William Walters  6. Joyless Cosmopolitans: The Moral Economy of Ethical Tourism Debbie Lisle  Part 4: Cultural Futures of Political Economy  7. Cultural Political Economies of the War on Teror Louise Amoore and Marieke de Goede  8. Cybernetic Capitalism and the Global Information Society: From the Global Panopticon to a ‘Brand’ New World Maxime Ouellet  9. A Perfect Innovation Engine: The Rise of the Talent World Nigel Thrift  Part 5: Conclusions/Provocations  Conclusion: Cultural, Political, Economy R.B.J. Walker


    Jacqueline Best is a Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. Her work combines an interest in international political economy, international relations and political theory, with an empirical focus on international economic governance issues. Her first book, The Limits of Transparency: Ambiguity and the History of International Finance, was published by Cornell University Press in 2005. Her current research focuses on the shifting legitimizing strategies of international economic organizations.

    Matthew Paterson is Professor of Political Science at the University of Ottawa. His research focuses on the intersection of International Political Economy and Global Environmental Politics. His most recent book is Automobile Politics: Ecology and Cultural Political Economy (Cambridge, 2007), and his current work focuses on the emergence of "climate capitalism." He has significant editing experience. He has co-edited two volumes (Direct Action in British Environmentalism, 2000, with Brian Doherty and Benjamin Seel, and Against Automobility, 2006, with Steffen Böhm, Campbell Jones and Chris Land) and one special issue of a journal (Global Environmental Politics, 3, 2, 2003, with David Humphreys and Lloyd Pettiford). He is also series editor of the Environmental Politics series for Routledge and, as of the 2008 issues, co-editor (with Jennifer Clapp) of Global Environmental Politics.


    'Chapter by chapter, this trans-disciplinary anthology offers the very best contemporary analyses of the cultural-political economy interface available. It is an important intervention that should serve pedagogy in a wide variety of disciplines while disrupting the tendencies that have separated cultural and economic research agendas.' - Michael Shapiro, University of Hawaii at Mãnoa, USA

    'The contributors to this excellent collection seek not to bury political-economy yet neither do they wish to praise it uncritically. Adding to and engaging with the various theoretical strands that make up the broad church of cultural economy, the volume’s aim is to show why injecting the ‘cultural dimension’ into analyses enriches rather than detracts from our understanding of how the political and the economic work separately and together, and what’s at stake if ‘culture’ is jettisoned at the outset. Containing theoretically informed engagements with practices as varied as ethical tourism, to the war on terror, to the rise of the ‘talent world’…through to a provocative and concluding engagement with the whole project of ‘cultural political economy’ offered by Rob Walker, this volume is an important contribution to the task of making sense of the cultural dynamics that give motion to contemporary capitalisms.' - Michael Pryke, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University

    'This book boldly opens up an intriguing and important field of inquiry that explores the intersections, boundaries, and inseparable qualities of culture, politics and the economy. It acknowledges, criticizes and reinterprets past efforts to conceptualize the relationships between these three categories but it is also filled with exciting new theoretical insights and novel analyses of particular historical and contemporary transnational practices. The chapters are consistently high quality, wide ranging in their themes, while working together to illuminate the value of cultural political economy as a field of inquiry. After reading this book some of the most familiar concepts and assumptions that we use in thinking about culture, politics and the economy do not look the same anymore.' - Tony Porter, McMaster University, Canada