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Pluralism, Heterodoxy, and the Rhetoric of Distinction


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  • Andrew Mearman

    (University of the West of England, Bristol)


The paper addresses the arguments made by Frederic Lee on heterodoxy and pluralism. It argues that the definitions of mainstream and heterodox, and consequently the differences between them, are highly problematic. Specifically it challenges Lee’s characterizations of mainstream and heterodox economics as noncomparable. Attempts to contrast them starkly are part of a rhetoric of distinction which may be problematic. Thus, Lee’s concept of intellectual pluralism may be weaker than it seems, because it is based on distinction and its tolerance, rather than an embrace of diversity. Further, both theoretical and intellectual pluralism may be based on wider epistemological and ontological grounds and thus Lee’s distinction between them may also be problematic. Sheila Dow’s structured pluralism may be a more productive way of embracing difference.JEL classification: B40, B5

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Union for Radical Political Economics in its journal Review of Radical Political Economics.

Volume (Year): 43 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 552-561

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Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:43:y:2011:i:4:p:552-561

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Keywords: pluralism; heterodoxy; rhetoric; dualism;

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Cited by:
  1. Robert Garnett & Andrew Mearman, 2011. "Contending Perspectives, Twenty Years On: What Have Our Students Learned?," Working Papers 201104, Texas Christian University, Department of Economics.


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