The critical in critical IPE research: Progressive Constitutionalism and immanent critique
Center for european law and politics Universität Bremen Bremen, Germany
Although proposing a critical perspective on globalization and european integration, neo-gramscian IPE has unfortunately failed to encourage alternative pathways beyond the neo-liberal agenda. The reasons for this fact are rooted in its theoretical framework that grounds on a too simplistic notion of the "critical" in critical theories. At least two deficiencies occur: Firstly, neo-gramscian IPE has a fragile understanding of what a critical theory is. It lacks epistemological reflection and often mixes up normative, immanent and genealogical varieties of critique. Secondly, it has a too narrow, power-fixed use of Antonio Gramscis concept of Hegemony which neglects its far reaching potential regarding political interventions. By putting neo-gramscian IPE in a wider context of critical theory approaches such as the Frankfurt School and Postmarxism these problems can be envisaged: The reconstruction of different kinds of critique provides a framework that leads to a more sophisticated approach in evaluating the "critical" in critical IPE research. Further more I will argue that a postmarxist reconstruction of Hegemony is not only fruitful for analytic reasons, it can also inspire practical engagements. Gramscis "war of position" entails a normative surplus that privileges immanent critique. Then the "critical effect" of neo-gramscian IPE, especially towards the recent crisis of global capitalism, depends on its ability to emanate a "progressive constitutionalism" from immanent critique. Maybe this recalibration can lead to a more visible role of critical IPE research in developing alternatives to US-led capitalism.