RE: [OPE] Marx on international relations

Date: Thu May 22 2008 - 08:26:35 EDT

> The question has another aspect we have to bear in mind. The question is not whether there is a new academic discipline is established on 
> international relations or not. If in an area there is to much material that requires special analysis - why should not be there a special discipline.
>  The problem with bourgeois academics is that they take their single discipline for absolute. This must of course be criticized. 

Hi Dogan:
Well, the problem primarily concerns the artificial lines of demarcation and Balkanization 
between different areas of study. As you know, what was under the old heading of 'philosophy'
there is today a plethora of distinct disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.
This is a creation, in large part, of academia.  It results in 'turf wars' of sorts on college
campuses and discourages what we now call 'inter-disciplinary' studies and cross-
disciplinary teaching and learning. 

This conception of distinct disciplines was antithetical, I believe, to the way in which
M&E looked at social subjects.  They studied, for instance, _political_ economy rather 
than just 'economics'.  We could quibble, I suppose, about when 'economics' was 
first introduced (Marx said at one point that he would title his proposed 6-book-work 
"Economics") but the point is that the *political* was necessarily inter-related with the 
*economic*.   In a similar way, Marx insisted that *history* (and, therefore, class) was an 
essential dimension of political economy. 
This Balkanization has long since become a reality and academics are
*forced* to specialize in a particular discipline.  But, I don't think we should make a virtue
out of a necessity and furthermore I think we should be heavily critical of mainstream 
economics for its myopic focus.  Because they view existing economic relations as 
natural and eternal, they also view them as "absolutes" which are necessary and not
subject to change. That is another aspect of their myopia - which should be confronted
not only theoretically but also with reference to social history.
> Curious enough this debate reminds me of the debate of 50s and 60s of the last century whether sociology is a science. 
Having known many sociologists, and having occasionally taught sociology myself, 
I know that those debates are ongoing.  Furthermore sociologists and social scientists
other than mainstream economists often bristle with indignation at the suggestion that 
"economics"  is somehow more of a "science" than these other disciplines. 
In solidarity, Jerry

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