Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by Anthony Payne and Nicola Phillips
It is almost too easy to introduce a book of this sort by invoking yet again the ubiquity that the term 'governance' has achieved across the social sciences since the 1990s, including in international political economy (IPE). Like all buzzwords and intellectual fashions, this ubiquity has been enabled in spite of voluminous expressions of unease with the concept of governance: many hundreds of pages in academic books and journals have been given over to worrying about whether it is merely a vacuous concept that adds little to our understanding of world politics and political economy, or in fact provides us with sharper analytical tools with which to carve out an understanding of contemporary global change. It is not our collective purpose here to pick our way once again through those longstanding debates, nor to orient the book around another defence (or otherwise) of the centrality of the concept of governance to our field of study. We want instead to do something rather different: to look forward and call for a 'refreshing' of debates and ways of thinking about governance in IPE, and to assemble some of the best and most innovative research in this area to advance ideas about how this can and should be achieved.