RC51 - International Political Economy

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RC 51 wants to cast a new light on the theoretically-informed analysis of power transitions, and the rebalancing of the world economy, focusing on the political economy of emergence, with special emphasis on the impact of emerging market democracies on globalization.


Officially recognized as a IPSA research committee since July 2012, the RC51 emerged from a series of meetings that took place in that year as well as in 2011 at both IPSA and ISA conferences. Currently the group has members from institutions all over the world and is very proud to be committed to methodological and theoretical pluralism in the subfield of International Political Economy.

Scientific Aim


The G-20 is an example of an international arrangement that gained strength in the aftermath of the 2007-8 crisis

The literature on International Political Economy (IPE) has mainly been concerned with American hegemony, international regimes and institutions, the economic and the geo-economic dimensions of globalization. In the last 15 years, however, those topics came to be increasingly framed in terms of international power transitions. Yet, it was not until the wake of the 2008 global crisis when large emerging powers, such as BRICS members, and other semi-peripheral states managed to have their voice heard when questioning the current norms and structures that govern the world economic system. In addition, the crisis brought to the central stage of intellectual debates the need to problematize power and ideational shifts to make sense of the latent transformations in the world order and, thus, in global governance. Such academic enterprise implies in looking beyond the experience of advanced industrial democracies, as well as the models often employed to explain their action and pathways to development.

This scenario suggests that there is an ongoing “Great Rebalancing” in political-economic terms, which may not necessarily result in an irreversible decline of the systemic core, but certainly gives more weight to parts of the developing world in global affairs. Such phenomena put in evidence the limits of orthodoxies forged in the 1990s, as well as their prescriptions. Thus, for academic debates it does not suffice to assume that the Global South will simply replicate the development paths of the Northern industrial democracies or adhere to globalization patterns that rest upon liberal tenets. The re-rise of state capitalism and the creation of multilateral arrangements other than the Bretton Woods institutions for discussing global problems are evidence of the dawn of a new power configuration that also demands updating the analytical frameworks in IPE. This is not to mention the need to incorporate new themes that challenge the traditional focus of economic globalization on trade and finance. These include: environmental questions; the creation of transnational regulations and economic mega-agreements following the integration of cross-border production chains; migration; and power relations in internet global governance institutions and policy spaces.

The RC51 aims to address such challenges by focusing on the structural, political, social, and ideational shifts that arise from those power transitions and the new challenges in global governance. Without falling into methodological and theoretical sectarianism, its members want to cast new light on the empirical analysis of emergence and its impact on complex interdependence in a long-term perspective. The state of affairs in world economy and politics demonstrate the need to go beyond taken-for-granted classifications, such as the North-South dichotomy. Such a task implies in conceptualizing differences between large emerging powers and other developing countries, paying special attention to the role of emerging market democracies in the global order and in shaping trajectories of development that do not follow the experience of advanced industrial societies, yet without missing the latter’s persisting weight in shaping global governance and other world-wide trends. For accomplishing those goals, we welcome traditional approaches to the study of international phenomena as much as comparative works that prioritizes the domestic level, including the ones that open the state’s “black box”.

Published on Tuesday, August 25 2015 by Vinicius Rodrigues Vieira