We need a revamped materialism that will allow us to see the virtual realities of the globe.
(Eisenstein 1998, 11)
It is now a commonplace that the meaning, constitution, and effects of borders - conceptual and territorial - are being radically transformed by globalization dynamics. To address the challenges posed by the speed, scale, and complexity of these changes, we require new theories of international political economy or, more appropriately, global political economy (GPE). This chapter takes as a starting point that the disciplines of economics and IR that produce the prevailing accounts of GPE remain dominated by productivist, masculinist, and modernist commitments that are analytically inadequate and politically problematic. In particular, prevailing accounts neglect significant aspects of globalization (increasing informal sector activities, feminization of flexibilization, crises of welfare delivery, diasporic identities and migration flows, shifting sexual politics and family forms) and pay little attention to how these are shaped by geopolitics, gender, and race/ethnicity. Moreover, political economists are just beginning to analyze the singular importance of financial (as distinct from monetary) institutions on a global scale, and only a few are epistemologically prepared for (or interested in) grappling with a virtual economy of signs rather than goods.
As a contribution to addressing these new dynamics, I begin this chapter by introducing an alternative analytics - an "RPV framing" - that rewrites GPE as "reproductive, productive, and virtual (Foucauldian) economies." Under the rubric of overlapping systemic "shifts" - of scale, production, and finance - I then discuss globalization as it shapes our lives today, and with uneven effects. Throughout this discussion, I implicitly and explicitly argue that new dynamics are more readily acknowledged and more productively addressed by adopting an alternative analytical framing that affords transdisciplinary, multilevel, and multicausal understanding. The need is for analytical advances that not only accommodate new developments but also cultivate the identification of relationships among disparate features of globalization, including the links among discourse,
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Publication information: Book title: Rethinking Global Political Economy: Emerging Issues, Unfolding Odysseys. Contributors: Mary Ann Tétreault - Editor, Robert A. Denemark - Editor, Kenneth P. Thomas - Editor, Kurt Burch - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 23.
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