Susan Strange

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Portrait of Susan Strange in 1980.

Susan Strange (June 9, 1923, Dorset – October 25, 1998, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire) was a British scholar of international relations who was "almost single-handedly responsible for creating international political economy".[1] Notable publications include Casino Capitalism (1986), States and Markets (1988), The Retreat of the State (1996), and Mad Money (1998).

Career[edit]

Susan Strange earned a first in Economics at the London School of Economics (LSE) in 1943; it would be twenty years before she established her reputation as an academic. She raised a family of six and worked as a financial journalist for The Economist, then The Observer until 1965, when she began to conduct full-time research. She remained a full-time researcher at Chatham House (formerly The Royal Institute of International Affairs).[1][2] From 1978 to 1988, she served as the Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at LSE, and was the first woman at LSE to hold this chair and professorship. She served as Professor of International Political Economy at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy from 1989 to 1993. Stange's final academic post, which she held from 1993 until her death in 1998, was as Chair of International Relations and Professor of International Political Economy at the University of Warwick, where she built up the graduate programme in International Political Economy.[3] She also taught in Japan.

She was a major figure in the professional associations in both Britain and the United States. She was an instrumental founding member and the first treasurer of the British International Studies Association and served as the third female President of the International Studies Association in 1995.[4]

Positions on international relations[edit]

Strange played a central role in developing international political economy as a field of study in Britain. She claimed that in general, "economists simply do not understand how the global economy works" due to a poor understanding of power and an over-reliance on abstract economic models. However, she noted that political scientists also have a woeful understanding of international relations due to their emphasis on institutions and power. Thus she became one of the earliest campaigners advocating the necessity of studying both politics and economics for international relations scholars.[1]

Power and international financial markets[edit]

States and Markets (1988) delineates four key channels that constitute power—security, production, finance, and knowledge; power is the ability to "provide protection, make things, obtain access to credit, and develop and control authoritative modes of interpreting the world". Strange posits that the most overlooked channel of power is financial access, which consequently becomes the most important one to comprehend; in other words, she argues that one cannot comprehend how the world works without a thorough understanding of international financial markets. To illustrate, Casino Capitalism, published in 1986, discusses the dangers of the international financial system, which she considered confirmed by the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Her analysis in States and Markets (1988) focused on what she called the "market-authority nexus", the see-saw of power between the market and political authority. She maintained that the global market, relative to the nation state, had gained significant power since the 1970s and that a "dangerous gap" was emerging between the two. She considered nation states inflexible, limited by territorial boundaries in a world of fragile intergovernmental cooperation; "Westfailure" is what she called Westphalia. Markets would be able to flout regulations and reign free, creating more uncertainty and risk in an already chaotic environment.

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  • Harry Bauer & Elisabetta Brighi (Eds) (2003) International Relations at LSE: A History of 75 Years, London: Millennium Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-9544397-0-5.

External links[edit]