Putting Culture in its Place in Political Economy
The cultural turn in political economy could well be interpreted as a cultural return. As noted in the Introduction, classical political economy, historical materialism, the German Historical School and ‘old institutionalisms’ included the cultural moment of political economy as a matter of course, and some, such as the German Historical School, privileged it in the guise of different ‘spirits’ of capitalism. As economics was reorganized as a specialized discipline, especially when linked to a commitment to formalization, semiotic topics were marginalized or abandoned. This chapter considers two examples of the survival of interest in ‘culture’ in political economy, in the work of Antonio Gramsci and the so-called Italian School in international political economy. We then examine some proposals, explicit or implicit, from different regulation schools and scholars on how to integrate discursive practices into the analysis of accumulation and its improbable regularization.
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