Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by Anthony Payne and Nicola Phillips
Chapter 2: Levels of governance and their interaction
This chapter seeks to introduce, in the most general terms, the concept of 'levels' within political economic analysis, reflecting on the stratified ontology of political economy on which it rests. The chapter develops an ontology of political economy, considering whether and to what extent it is accurate and/or useful to refer to political economic realities as presenting themselves to us in discrete stratified levels. In the process, alternatives to a stratified ontology are discussed, the debate about this in (economic) geography is reviewed and the implications for political economy are considered. Discussion then moves from the concept of levels in general to the question of the particular levels to which political economists make reference - in effect, to the specific levels which typically populate a stratified ontology (the local, the national, the international, the regional, the interregional and the global). The value of a stratified account of political economic systems and their development is considered and the implications are drawn out for an account of globalisation and its governance.
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