Interrogating the subject-world of economic epistemology: re-imagining theory and difference
Thesis or dissertation
- © 2002 Nitasha Kaul. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
The epistemological inheritance of economics is 'rooted' in the enlightenment tensions over knowledge, thus demonstrating how the endeavour of economics is not a universal timeless objective science but a 'routed' body of knowledge whose underlying foundations are structured by the contingent emergence of ideas in a geohistorical-temporal-ideological context in line with a wider discursive fixing of objectivity and representation in knowledge. This modernist rendition of knowledge relies upon - an elision of difference; a separated view of the domains of the economic, political, social; a particular version of subjectivity which is narrowly obtained but unjustifiably universalised. A postcolonial moment in epistemology is needed to place difference at the heart of self and identity in order to disrupt knowledge based upon manufacturing conceptual abstractions and universalising their essence.
One such intervention is the juxtaposition of identity with the economic. The problematics of identity in economics are discussed and the wider ways of attempting a reconciliation of the diversity of subjects with the desire for systematic knowledge are evaluated. A detailed critical assessment of economists' rare discourse on identity is followed by a differentiation of the concentric and the translational views on identity. Addressing the separation of culture and economy involves attending to the slippage between economics, economy, economic; rethinking the link between the value and values; and considering identity as a translation.
Finally, writing economic theory another way is presented as a rewriting the conditions of theory itself. Implications of economic theories as textual productions are analysed and the complexities of emancipation and epistemology are explored. The dominant methods of economics do not have a universal purchase on understanding the economic aspects of human life. Overcoming the economic logic that permeates all aspects of existence and yet remains unquestioned in the terrains of knowledge production is essential.
- Business School and Department of Philosophy, The University of Hull
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