Ivan Manokha, Mona Chalabi

The latest financial crisis has put the state and the international system to the test. In this context one would expect an explosion in literature from the discipline that claims academic monopoly over the international sphere: International Relations. However, as our research shows, surprisingly few IR scholars have made any attempt to analyse the crisis. This article seeks to explain this paucity of engagement, and the failings of those few works that did attempt to engage with the crisis, by exposing the limits of the discipline's orthodoxy. It argues that the discipline of IR has been predominantly concerned with the analysis of political interactions of sovereign states, their external behaviour towards each other in an anarchic international system, with each of these territorial units seen as pursuing their national interests, usually vaguely defined in terms of power or resources. With such privileging of the political over the economic, of the external over the domestic, of state actors over non-state actors, and of the study of conflict over the analysis of other types of interactions, the discipline of IR has inherently and structurally been unable to engage with, and render intelligible, the latest financial crisis and its consequences. The article then sketches out an alternative approach which seeks to overcome the dichotomies that characterize the orthodoxy and provides a more holistic explanation of the crisis.

Amélie Blom

"He who has the stick, has the buffalo". This Punjabi proverb applies well to Pakistan's armed forces, a majority of which, in fact, hail from this province. They have gradually formed an economic interest group with many industrial and commercial activities that have become an integral part of Pakistan’s everyday life. Oddly enough, this patent fact has been neglected by the academic research on Pakistan or, at best, has only been addressed in a descriptive manner. The present study attempts to explain the transformation of Pakistan's armed forces into a significant economic actor by reinterpreting Charles Tilly's thesis about the dependent militarization of Third World states. It emphasizes the crucial role played by local capital, especially land. It also stresses how endogenous historical factors (the colonial legacy) and political factors (the delicate civil-military balance of power) have helped the army to consolidate itself institutionally. Yet, since the 1980s, the expansion of military economic corporatism has provoked increased tensions between the army and its civilian partners, primarily the bureaucracy, which is the main loser in this unfair competition for state property. It also produces social resistance: unprecedented civil disobedience movements have appeared, and old grievances emanating from ethnic groups under-represented within the army have been reawakened. The phenomenon also creates friction within the armed forces themselves. Nevertheless, these tensions do not seriously undermine a corporatist rationale that is far too effective and functional to disappear. Paradoxically, the military's "privatisation" contributes to its internal cohesion. Indeed, military patrimonialism in Pakistan can usefully be analysed as one of the many processes that has helped the armed forces maintain a strong "esprit de corps" and which has given rise to what can be termed "military syndicalism".

Myriam Désert

What are the roots of the informal sector and what effects does it have? Is it a blessing or a curse? Changes in post-Soviet Russia contribute new food for thought to a debate that had previously been nourished primarily by considerations on the situation in developing countries. In Russia can be observed processes of formalization - and “deformalization” – of the rules governing not only the practices of economic actors, but also in the rarified distribution of public services publics. The analysis of actual informal practices feeds thinking about the relations between economic and political changes: what impact do they have in setting up a market economy and the rule of law, and in the reconfiguration of both the economic and social arena? An investigation into the way Russian academic circles and social actors view the informal sector sheds light on the various behavioral determinant: reaction to the economic context, cultural roots, social beliefs, and so on. The case of Russia illustrates how the informal sector is not only a mode of action that circumvents legal guidelines, but also a mode of sociability that rejects anonymous social relations. It helps examine ways to reinject the social aspect into economics

The concept of "Thermidorian situation" finds itself in the tradition of the "authoritarian situation" (Guy Hermet) and "colonial situation" (Georges Balandier). It accounts for historical experiences of postrevolutionary regimes and their economic liberalization in the context of neo-liberal globalization. Developed from the Cambodian case, the Thermidorian comparative paradigm helps to interpret the economical and political liberalization processes in post-communist states and the establishment of their revolutionary elite into a dominating class. This interpretation does not refer to the normative and teleological terms of "transitology". Nevertheless, understanding the Thermidorian moment implies that it should not be reduced to a mere preservation of power, as an utilitarian reading of the events would imply. Indeed, it has to deal with autonomous social dynamics. Other types of post-revolutionary trajectories that are non-socialist, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, can serve as good examples of this phenomenon. The Thermidorian paradigm takes into account a plurality of relatively homogeneous trajectories that combine into a revolutionary event, a process of institutionalization and professionalization of the latter, and of a dynamic of integration into the capitalist world economy. This concept cannot stand for an explanation, but emphasizes the specificity of the regimes that stem from a revolution and that are confronted to their own reproduction within the context of the dismantling of the socialist camp and neoliberal globalization. "Thermidorisms" have their own historicity, notably the revolution they arose from. They also have their own political economy that cannot be reduced to the imposition of the neo-liberal model. Thermidorian moments are historical experiences subjected to contingency vagaries and social struggles. As such, they are "situations" (Jean-Paul Sartre) in which the reproduction of power and liberty of actors are simultaneously at stake.

From a broad perspective, political economy analyses economic and political exchanges proper to some social groups, embedded in particular historical periods. The great innovation of Max Weber’s analysis is to highlight the intersubjective orientations that support these exchanges and characterize a particular period of history. This study firstly compares different features between free market economy and the soviet-type economy. Secondly, it measures their difference in accordance to the “ideal type” of “market”, bureaucracy” and “forms of domination”. Finally, it insists on the particular “hybrid” figures of “charisma” and “patrimonial bureaucracy”.

During the first decade of the 21st century the Gulf States undertook reforms of their social policies based on the generous redistribution of hydrocarbon profits. One of the elements of the redistribution was to guarantee of employment. Beginning in the 1990s rising unemployment indicated that the traditional employment policies were ineffective, generating social tensions as evidenced in the "Arab spring". The goal of the reforms is to move nationals into salaried jobs in the private sector, currently held largely by foreign workers. The change is strongly opposed by business executives and local entrepreneurs. Having become accustomed to inexpensive foreign workers they object to the increased costs entailed by the reforms. The royal families are thus obliged to negotiate between the interests of the private sector, often aligned with their own, and the dissatisfaction of the young, the group most impacted by unemployment and the key players in the protests that erupted in 2011 in Bahrain, Saudi-Arabia and Oman.

Isabelle Rousseau

Latin America's national oil companies, created at various times during the twentieth century, have each evolved in a different way. The two main companies – Petroleos de Mexico (Pemex) and Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) – provide excellent illustrations of the rich diversity of organizational and industrial development. Many factors – such as the importance of earth quakes – explain the diversity.
Nevertheless, the role of governments during the period of nationalizations is key. It was then that the relationships between the owners of natural resources, public operators, regulators, the finance ministries, and international operators were defined. This process shaped the companies' institutional structures (path dependency) and set the parameters for future entrepreneurial dynamism. The path by which each of these enterprises developed continues to affect their culture as evidenced by the recent reforms which attempted to restructure Pemex and PDVSA.