Chapter 1: What makes critical research in political economy?
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The chapter outlines what makes critical research in political economy, emphasising an understanding of economics as a social science. It differentiates this from the approach of mainstream economics in terms of studying an interrelation of human agency and social structure, a method distinct from or irreducible to that of ‘physics-like’ natural sciences, an appreciation of change and the irreversible nature of time, the unevenness of space and the importance of normative questions. Arguing that critical political economy becomes a broad-ranging social science, it suggests this implies the need for an awareness of priorities, boundaries and limits in establishing research questions. The book’s chapters exemplify how critical research is being carried out in many areas of political economy and propose potential avenues for productive future investigation.

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