Historical Analysis as a Level of Political Economy
This chapter is the most difficult and important of the theoretical chapters, not only because it attempts to summarize the relation between the three levels, but also because it focuses on the relation between stage theory and historical analysis, which is the least clear and most difficult to specify of the interrelationships between the three levels of analysis. The relation between all kinds of mid-range theory and historical analysis has generally been neglected in the social sciences, and even Unoists have generally not maintained a clear and sharp distinction between stage theory and historical analysis. The cost of neglecting this distinction is the very autonomy of historical analysis. Lack of clarity on the relation between stage theory and historical analysis can result in a most insidious reductionist functionalism, in which “middle range theory” intermingles with various historical agencies only to impose from above a preformed logic. Even though at times there seems to be an apparent overlap between stage theory and historical analysis, and even though it may be difficult to get the distinction clear and sharp, I believe that it is crucial to attempt to so so.
KeywordsPolitical Economy Capital Accumulation Historical Analysis Gender Relation Informal Economy
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