Gendered & postmodern political economy

International Political Economy Prof. Amado Mendoza, Jr., Ph.D. UP Political Science Department

The critical theory family
• Feminism & postmodernism belongs to the broader critical theory family • Critical theory spans through the arts and sciences • Feminism/gender theory draw from political practice of women’s movements • Postmodernism is a ‘movement’ in a different sense; the discourse is political

(BIG) caveat
• Like other ‘isms,’
– no single or monolithic feminism/gendered theory – no single postmodernism
• some authors refused to be called postmodernists

Feminist and gender theory
• • • • Gender, not sex, is the key concept Gender as a socially constructed identity/role Masculine and feminine roles (not exhaustive) Feminine men and masculine women (e.g. Margaret ‘Iron Lady’ Thatcher) • Patriarchy: dominance of the masculine

Gendered political economy
• Distinguishes between production and social reproduction
• Both are necessary processes in capitalism

ideology and values • provision of sexual services . including care of children and elderly • unpaid production in the home • reproduction of culture.Social reproduction • biological reproduction • provision and maintenance of labour • social provisioning.

Other social reproduction activities • Informal economic activities • Subsistence • ALL SOCIAL REPRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES ARE NOT COUNTED IN GDP .

Social reproduction & capitalist production • Continuum from the household to the capitalist workplace • Unpaid social reproductive activities produce and reproduce male workers • Capitalist workers pay workers at wages lower than what is need to produce them .

Consequences • Feminists want socially productive activities (SPAs) ‘recognized’ • To be given monetary value? • If recognized in this manner. aren’t SPAs commodified? • Isn’t commodification against feminist philosphical values? • Isn’t commodification masculine? .

Possible resolutions • Housewife wage ala kasambahay law • Household wage • Raise male worker wage (reinforces patriarchy) .

and hiring.Females in the capitalist workforce • Females join the workforce as supplementary breadwinners • Discrimination wages. etc. firing. • Female workers are docile – Will not organize/join labour unions – Will not participate in strikes • Female workers still do household chores .

Hierarchies within capitalism • Realism: international hierarchy within anarchy • Dependency/world system: international hierarchy • Marxism: class hierarchy .

Hierarchies within capitalism • Feminism: patriarchy • Neo-Gramscian: hegemony • Postcolonialism: race. class. and postcolonial status .

No (theoretical) hierarchies? • Post-structuralism: – No single meaning of text – Meaning ascribed by author is not superior • Postmodernism: – ‘Truth’ is determined by power relations – Incredulity (mistrust. disbelief) of ‘grand narratives’. scepticism. of the project of modernity .

Postmodernism .

the social sciences. .What is Postmodernism? • Postmodernism became one of the most influential and controversial theories and trends in the humanities. and the applied science— including architecture.

Postmodern Modern: Linear progress in history Boundaries. emphasis on authority Scientific rationality Essentialism. race. and gender Intertextuality. image. social class. seeking “real” essences Grand narrative Prescription Normative Postmodern: “Historicity”.Modern vs. pastiche Signs. selfreflexivity. montage. reproductive social order Local accounts Description Geneaological. race and gender Formality. Archaeological . socio-cultural locatedness of moments in history Critical study of class.

1991. so that any distinction between the appearance and the ‘real’ is lost. (David Jary and Julia Jary. 375-6) . signs -. on freefloating signs and images.increasingly constitute the world. The Harper Collins Dictionary of Sociology. eds. and a plurality of viewpoints … a shift from a `productive' to a ‘reproductive’ social order.and more generally. New York: HarperCollins. in which simulations and models -.Postmodernism & science Postmodernity (involves) the end of an overarching belief in scientific rationality and a unitary theory of progress. and increased emphasis on the importance of the unconscious. the replacement of empiricist theories of representation and truth.

Rejection of essentialism Among the characteristic gestures of postmodernist thinking is a refusal of the ‘totalizing’ or ‘essentialist’ tendencies of earlier theoretical systems. and belief in progress. scientificity. especially classic Marxism. with their claims to referential truth. .

Postmodern treatments of medicine & incarceration .

Samples of postmodern IR .

Postmodern IR • Power & knowledge in study of IR • Postmodern textual approaches/strategies • Postmodernism & the state • Rethinking what is political .

Power & knowledge in IR • Modern – Knowledge is immune from influence of power • Postmodern – Knowledge production is normative and political – Sovereignty is constitutive of man and state – Modern statecraft is modern mancraft (ala Foucault’s Discipline and Punish) .

there is not one single grand history but many interwoven histories varied in power-knowledge effects • There is no truth.Genealogy • Style of historical thought which exposes and registers significance of power-knowledge relations • Concerned with writing counter-histories w/c expose cases of exclusion w/c make possible teleological stories • From a genealogical perspective. only competing perspectives and every perspective embodies a set of values .

Zehfuss’ genealogical analysis of 9/11 • What is 9/11? – Attack on West? – Is Western identity unambiguous? – Didn’t some Western countries harbor the ‘terrorists’? – Are all Westerners behind war on terror? • Cause and effect? – Is 9/11 an uncaused ‘cause’ of the war on terror? .

Postmodern textual strategies • James Der Derian contends that post modernism is concerned with exposing the ‘textual interplay behind power politics’. .

” . The world is or is constituted like a text and one cannot refer to it except in an interpretive experience.What is text? • Jacques Derrida did not limit text to the realm of ideas. “We need to interpret interpretations more than to interpret things.

Demonstrates how text appears coherent • Second reading unsettles first by applying pressure on those points of instability within a text and exposes internal tensions showing that it is less than stable .Double reading • First reading is commentary or repetition of dominant interpretation (produces stability effect).

Ashley’s double reading of anarchy problematique • Why should power politics follow from lack of central rule? • 1st reading: outlines AP in conventional terms • 2nd reading: questions the self-evidence of IR as anarchical realm of politics .

Ashley’s double reading • Deconstruction of sovereignty-anarchy dyad – Sovereignty is valorized. anarchy takes on meaning only as opposite – Both are not mutually exclusive/exhaustive • Dichotomy is tenable only if states are indeed sovereign internally. internal dissent (transversal struggles) undermines the stability of the dyad .

Problematizing sovereign states • Genealogical question: how is the state instituted as the normal mode of international subjectivity (or loyalty)? • How is the sovereign state made possible. how is it naturalized and how is it made to appear as if it had an essence? .

PM Analysis of the state • Modern state’s origin’s in violence • Boundary inscription • Deconstruction of identity • Revised interpretation of statecraft .

to impose differentiations between internal and external .Violence and the modern state • Modern political thought see reason rather than violence as measure of power & legitimacy • PoMo analysts see a paradox since violence is behind state power but citizens must be protected from the same violence • Others argue that states used violence to constitute themselves as states.

occupy and administer space (and people and resources). establishes opposition between sovereignty and anarchy • Geography is the product of histories of struggle between competing authorities over the power to organize.State boundaries • How was global political space partitioned? • Boundary marking is a political act as it produces and delimits political space. .

monocultural community • All forms of political community. insofar as they require boundaries. bounded.Identity • How has the territorially-defined self been constructed (as opposed to a THEATENING OTHER)? • Norm of community in times of war: ONTOPOLOGY—a desire for a coherent. are prone to some degree of violence .

process never completed .Statecraft • • • • • Sovereign state is NOT natural Sovereign states became the hegemonic ideal Quasi. the state is performatively constituted.& failed states reinforce ideal Model must be replicable to be hegemonic Traditional view: statecraft refers to what fullyformed states do in world arena • PoMo view: ongoing practices which keep the state in perpetual motion. always in the process of being constituted.

reduced understanding of dynamics of world politics • The PoMo alternative – Conceptualize world politics in terms of political prosaics • Multitude of flows/interactions • Deterritorialized modern political life • Activities that stabilize paradigm of sovereignty .Rethinking the political • Paradigm of sovereignty: impoverished our political imagination.

incompatible with deterritorialized democracy .Rethinking political community & identity • Modern political life need not be caught between the inside (the state) and outside dichotomy • Identity must not be exclusionary • Difference not antithetical to identity • Men-citizen opposition must not privilege citizens’ claims above claims of humanity • Need to move beyond paradigm of sovereignty.

not detached from social context • All societies have common structures .Structuralism • Language and society are essentially ordered • Both share similar formal features and structures • Societies can be conceptualized as symbolic systems.

PM & PS IPE • Constructivist IPE theory is new • PM/PS IPE theory is younger • PS IPE theory relies on plausibility .

church. • Social structures guide actors only to certain degree because structures are themselves contingent as well altered by actors . political and ideological domains are jointly articulated into a mode of production • Ideological state apparatus (ala Gramsci): schools. mass media. in which the economic. etc.Post structuralism: Althusser • Society is a relational entity.

What is discourse? • Discourse is constitutive for politics and social reality • Discourse is a certain (and always precarious) structuring within a discursive field • Within a discourse. discourse also includes action. what then is discourse? . action and meaning are closely connected • Discourse is a relational structure • If (as some authors opine).

Post-structural political economy • Discourse constructs political and economic reality • The constructed character of actors in politics and society is the contingent result of competing. and often contradictory ‘discourses’ • No strong subjects (actors). agency is always bound within social structure but not completely . conflicting.

Discourse and PE institutions • Institutions do not have pre-discursive meaning even if they ‘exist’ • No meaningful reality outside discursive field • The economic sphere is produced through competing discourses .

. patriarchy. etc • The economy is a relation • The economy is form not substance (it follows that there does not exist an abstract and universal economic sphere per se. but only concrete and spatio-temporal-specific forms of the economy.Basic theoretical assumptions • Economic relations are just one principle of social organization like religion.

Theoretical assumptions • the concrete temporarily and precariously stabilized forms of the economy neither arise by accident nor do they stem from a certain system-immanent necessity. • the political. . They are the contingent result of previous historical negotiations. and the social respectively cannot be separated unambiguously. the economic.

territorial and institutional” and with less emphasis on “order” • a radical political economy “that begins from the premise that the economy is essentially prone to subversion and reconstruction in respect of other hegemonic-discursive positions” .A new IPE • a new IPE sensitive to “fluid boundaries.

etc. in border fences. and performativity. the national interest and the common good. • studies on financial flows and crises. . counter-hegemonies. everyday life. welfare policies. discourse. on identity. cultural representation. technological processes. (post)neoliberal strategies. accumulation regimes. the global political economy of migration. the ambiguity of political dissent.g.Empirical studies • post-structural inquiries focus e. in military weapons). and constructions of nation state. security politics.g. in the body. materialisation of discourses (e.

de Goede argues with reference to Foucault’s biopolitics that a risk-based approach to combating the financing of terrorism emerged. such as migrants. the burden is shifted especially to marginalized populations. . By separating banking customers into normal and abnormal groups. In a similar fashion. but they enjoy considerable flexibility in carrying out this task. financial actors are trying to maintain their privileged position in the turmoil of the current economic crisis by trying to draw a line between responsible and irresponsible bankers. Banks are required to monitor suspicious financial transactions.De Goede’s article on financial regulation after 9/11 • While many have predicted a reversal of the liberalizing tendencies of the previous decades.

etc) • State sovereignty is undermined esp. By mobile capital . taxation. copyright.Rethinking political economy • Globalization (postmodernity) as compression of space and time • Territoriality defeated by Internet (property rights.

Critique of PoMo • Trash talk: epistemological hypochondria and anarchy • ‘Banging on open door’: orthodox IR had been criticized for problems of positivism • Just muddying the waters: pure polemics • Complete nihilistic relativism .

we are left with no mechanism to assert one theory over another • PoMo ultimately negates itself: how can deconstruction and its other methodologies be defended as correct? .Nihilistic relativism • By declaring any theory a fabrication without legitimate grounding.

PoMo response • This question only makes sense in a positivist framework • PoMo does not seek to prove with absolute certainty what it proposes but to demonstrate uncertainty and harm of absolutist claims .

can it be created at will? .Critique of PM/PS IPE theory • Cannot ignore the inescapable reality of material needs • Confusion on how social realm is composed of discourses • If reality is discursive.

Putting PoMo in its proper place • Political nihilism or continued commitment to emancipation? • No momentous contribution to study of IR • Insufficient communication between PoMo accounts in IR • Not yet a school? Will it be a school? Should it be a school? .

Point of unity • The primacy of the political • Every objective relation (economic. . religious) has political roots • Stressing the discursive and non-objective character of reality implies that power relations are reflected without exception in every relation. technological.

Now it’s your turn • Comments? • Questions? .