Discussion of the dominant and the critical readings of the Celtic Tiger period in the previous two chapters highlighted the limitations of the theoretical lens through which the Celtic Tiger has been viewed. It identified some central deficiencies: the tendency in some of the literature to see economic growth as an end in itself, the failure to specify what constitutes development and what the social objectives of economic growth are, and giving priority to the needs of the economy and of the state over those of society. The purpose of this chapter is to elaborate a theoretical approach designed to address these weaknesses and therefore to offer a better guide to uncovering and identifying in a more comprehensive way the nature and developmental impact of the Celtic Tiger period. Furthermore, a test of such a theoretical approach is that it should have the analytical ability to uncover the central weaknesses of the Irish growth model, making it a more sure guide than other theoretical approaches to what lies ahead. For, as Cox states in the quote with which this chapter opens, theory needs to be assessed in terms of which sectors it favours and what purpose it serves. Therefore, the chapter begins by situating its theoretical approach within the emerging self-understanding of the social sciences. It then identifies the elements required for a more adequate theoretical framework through which to understand the Celtic Tiger and the inbuilt weaknesses of the development model on which it was based.
KeywordsPolitical Economy Development Theory Critical Theory United Nations Development Programme International Political Economy
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