Ngai-Ling Sum and Bob Jessop present Cultural Political Economy (CPE) as a project that seeks to deepen Critical Political Economy (C*PE) through an engagement with the cultural turn. This article critically assesses their success in such an enterprise. It begins by framing CPE within Jessop and Sum’s previous work on the Regulation Approach, in order to show why the former can only be understood as the result of a critical dialogue with the latter. Next, my reconstruction of the main elements of Sum and Jessop’s CPE is presented. After having carefully examined its main assumptions and concepts, I criticise CPE’s main novel element, an ontological cultural turn, due to the culturalist risks it engenders. In order to substantiate and exemplify that theoretical criticism, I review CPE’s application to the analysis of the North Atlantic Financial Crisis. This article concludes by showing the main difficulties that CPE faces as an alternative for deepening C*PE and proposes the Amsterdam School of Transnational Historical Materialism as a more suitable direction in which that initiative could be advanced.
- Cultural political economy
- Critical political economy
- Regulation approach
- Transnational historical materialism
- North Atlantic financial crisis