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Title: Robert Cox and neo-Gramscian international relations theory : a state capitalist critique
Author: Budd, Adrian.
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2005
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The neo-Gramscian perspective, inspired by Robert Cox, has been in the forefront of developments in critical International Relations theory since the early-1980s. Derived from the historicist tradition in social science, including the work of Gramsci, Cox's method of historical structures - which comprise ideas. material capabilities, and institutions - challenged the positivism and trans-historical essentialisation of state power characteristic of traditional IR. Extending the method of historical structures to the understanding of the international system, Cox elaborated a triadic model of that system which comprised the mutual interactions between social forces engendered in production, forms of state, and world orders. This approach enabled Cox to develop a more sophisticated and comprehensive analysis of international change than that offered by the narrow state-centrism of traditionallR. Framing his approach within an interpretation of key ideas drawn from Gramsci's The Prison Notebooks, Cox created a space for the discussion of Marxist ideas in IR, previously largely resistant to Marxism. Cox, however, does not consider himself a Marxist and rejects important elements of Marxist theory. The critique of Cox and the neo-Gramscians that I develop in this thesis is based on a Marxist approach to social scientific explanation, and more specifically on the state capitalist perspective whose founder, Tony Cliff, conceived it as a return to classical Marxism, which the dominant versions of Marxism in the mid-twentieth century had, he argued, abandoned. The state capitalist perspective, developed as an attempt to understand the novel phenomenon of Stalinism in the USSR and its satellites, is mobilised throughout the thesis. Firstly against Cox's criticism that a focus on the fundamental relations of the mode of production leads to static and ahistorical analysis and, more widely, against his prioritisation of the role of ideas in shaping world orders. In particular, the Gramscian concept of hegemony, central to the neo-Gramscian perspective, IS criticised as providing an inadequate, and idealist, understanding of periods of relative social and political stability, which are explained instead by reference to the coercive aspects, broadly defined, of capitalism's dominant social relations. Coercion has been central to the imperialist structuring of the modern world system and, I argue, the concepts of imperialism and inter-imperialist rivalry retain their explanatory power even in what the neo-Gramscians refer to as the contemporary ·transnationalist' era
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available