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Cultural political economy is a rising post-disciplinary approach that emphases the role of the cultural change to the analysis of the expression between the economic and the political and their embedding in broader sets of social relations. Explicit arguments in favor of ‘cultural political economy’ as such emerged in several contexts in the 1990s as part of and/or in reaction to the then existing cultural change. Given the range of cultural turns and the starting points from which they have been made as well as the widely different definitions of political economy, there is no consent among scholars on the nature of cultural political economy.

Critical Methods in Political and Cultural Economy seeks to forge a new collaborative path that builds a critical ethic and modes of inquiry within International Political Economy. Contributed chapters advance the cultural political economy and seek to articulate its promising research ethic. The text introduces cultural political economy as a distinctive approach in the social sciences, including policy studies. It combines critical semiotic analysis and critical political economy. It grounds its approach to both in the practical necessities of complexity reduction and the role of meaning-making and structuration in turning unstructured into structured complexity as a basis for ‘going on’ in the world. It explores both semiosis and structuration in terms of the evolutionary mechanisms of variation, selection, and retention and, in this context, also highlights the role of specific forms of agency and specific technologies.

The contributors explore how research on sense- and meaning-making can deepen critical studies in political economy, illuminating its role in critiquing the specific categories, contradictions and crisis-tendencies of capitalism. Scholars and students of heterodox, cultural, political and institutional economics will find this book a comprehensive guide.