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Under the Gaze of Giants: Reimagining Classic texts in the History of Economic Thought

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Throughout 2015, the International Political Economy Cluster has been able to employ one of its MA cohort, Gregory Kirby, as a Student Research Assistant. Gregory has gathered together different combinations of PAIS scholars, sat them down in a room with a tape recorder running, and invited them to reflect on a number of classic texts in the history of economic thought. He has then structured their thoughts into a series of research features on key thinkers in political economy. At all times the objective has been to take the reader beyond the most obvious way in which each thinker is remembered, so that glimpses can be given of what lies behind the headlines. Every one of the PAIS scholars has dipped into their own specialist academic knowledge in order to bring these research features to you.

The hope is that the original discussions have been transformed into easy-to-read research features that require little or no expertise of the field or of the thinkers discussed. They could be used by students who are brand new to the subject and are looking for an introduction to its historical foundations. Or they could be used by anyone who is searching for new insights into how they might interpret the world around them. For each of the individual research features, all will be revealed to be far more complex than it might at first appear. In this way, the lessons distilled from thinkers of bygone eras will be shown to be of direct relevance to contemporary life.

Join us, then, in our journey into the past, in the hope that it might help in illuminating your understanding of the present. To access the links to the individual research features, simply click on the names of the thinkers below.

(1) Karl Polanyi (discussed by Ben Clift, Christopher Holmes and Matthew Watson)
(2) Adam Smith (discussed by Chris Clarke, Simon Glaze and Matthew Watson)
(3) Thorstein Veblen (discussed by Chris Clarke, Simon Glaze and Matthew Watson)


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Gregory Kirby is a student on the MA International Political Economy programme in the Politics and International Studies (PAIS) department at Warwick. He is part of the Department’s Student Research Assistant scheme (or Postgraduate Research Internship scheme) which gives a number of MA students the opportunity to undertake paid work in the department during the course of their studies. Through working closely with a member of staff to assist with research and administrative duties, the research assistants are able to gain a valuable insight into how an academic department operates. This is particularly useful for those students hoping to progress to doctoral studies following completion of their postgraduate courses. Gregory has a particular interest in Everyday International Political Economy in the Latin American context. He is now working on his MA dissertation which looks at the political economy of Higher education reform in 21st century Brazil.


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