Abstract

This article seeks to review the recent incarnation of a long-standing engagement in international political economy (IPE) and critical theory between open Marxist perspectives (OMPs) and their critics. The article aims to identify the enduring relevance of this debate in order to think about the possibility and future of critical social inquiry in our time constructively. It criticises elements on both sides of the debate that no longer serve but rather hinder achieving this objective. We argue that the recent criticisms make a number of important constructive points that could help enhance the explanatory power of OMPs yet still portray the latter uncharitably. We propose to take the emphasis on openness in OMPs seriously as a scholarly and political orientation without immersing the debate with the charges of reductionism, instrumentalism, determinism and functionalism which are frequently raised by various versions of Marxism against one another—often to little avail.