Our perspective it constitutes a central part of the

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our perspective it constitutes a central part of the history of political economy, which again only needed to be recognised for what it was and reintegrated accordingly into the core of the subject. In sum, as neoliberalism asserted itself across the Anglo-American world during the course of the 1980s, as the Berlin Wall was torn down and com- munism as a system collapsed, as something called 'globalisation' came to the fore, and, above all, as analysts struggled to make sense of these sea-changes in the world order in which they were living, there still existed a very fruitful, albeit neglected, history of political economy thinking to reach back to and draw into renewed use. It was obvious too that many of the separate discip- lines of the social sciences were finding it increasingly hard to comprehend the many different facets of these changes within their conventional remits. As a result, scholars were uncertainly - but, nevertheless, with growing frequency - reaching out beyond the inherited boundaries of their particular disciplines. Economics, predictably, was initially the most hesitant in doing this (it was still generally very confident in the merits of its core methods). But political science was beginning actively to develop new research programmes in state
6 Anthony Payne theory, government-industry relations and public choice. 11 International relations was opening up to a new and very popular subfield, dubbed 'inter- national political economy (IPE)', which sought to understand the increased salience of economic issues in world politics. 12 Area studies were also starting to enter more fully into these kinds of debates. 13 In sociology both structur- ation theory and strategic-relational theory endeavoured to break down some of the traditional gap between structural and agential modes of analysis by viewing structure as only being capable of expression through agency. For their part too, notions of culture and discourse were in the process of being widely imbricated across all the social sciences. In the face of these many manifestations of weakening disciplinary boundaries, even economics fell prey in the end to a reassertion of its dissident other, with the appearance of new Keynesian, Austrian and institutionalist schools. In essence, this was the moment that New Political Economy sought to seize. The explicit aim of the journal was described as the creation of 'a forum for work which seeks to bridge both the empirical and conceptual divides which have characterised the field of political economy in the past' . 14 The core terrain that it set out to explore was defined as embracing four major subfields of political economy, each identified by reference to its key contemporary research agenda: Comparative political economy - focusing on regulation and the policy regimes and institutional patterns which characterise alternative models of capitalism.

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