The essay must discuss one of the dominant theoretical perspectives explored throughout the semester- Institutional School of Political Economy in relation to the following quote:
“Theory is always for someone and for some purpose. All theories have a perspective. Perspectives derive from a position in time and space, specifically social and political time and space. The world is seen from a standpoint defineable in terms of nation or social class, of dominance or subordination, of rising or declining power, of a sense of immobility or of present crisis, of past experience, and of hopes and expectations for the future. Of course, sophisticated theory is never just the expression of a perspective. The more sophisticated a theory is, the more it reflects upon and transcends its own perspective; but the initial perspective is always contained within a theory and is relevant to its explication. There is, accordingly, no such thing as theory in itself, divorced from a standpoint in time and space. When any theory so represents itself, it is the more important to examine it as ideology, and to lay bare its concealed perspective.”
– Robert W. Cox, ‘Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 10, No. 2, p. 128.
This task is designed to facilitate a deep and critical engagement with one of the dominant perspectives in political economy utilised to understand processes of socioeconomic change. The question is left broad deliberately so as to permit students the opportunity to mount a substantive critical engagement of their chosen theoretical perspective. While the object of analysis appears to be abstract theory, students are encouraged to consider Cox’s claim that theory is always grounded in time and space. The task at hand is therefore to explicate the theory in relation to the material processes which gave rise to it and which it came to change.