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World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction 7/28/04 Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Yet while Systems Analysis was enjoying its moment in the Sun, academic scholars from every discipline tried to adapt Systems Analysis to their particular discipline. Which brings us to Immanuel Wallerstein and his book "World Systems Analysis." Wallerstein has postulated that a world wide system could be described as a "Capitalist World Economy" and that system could be analyzed in accordance with the principles of systems analysis. Several things need to be noted at this point. First, `Capitalist World Economy' is in itself not a pejorative term, but simply describes a very specific kind of economic system. Second this term which Wallerstein insists on using really is more widely known under the rubric of "Globalization" which indeed can be studied by means of systems analysis. To his great credit Wallerstein has spent the last thirty years studying and refining the application of systems analysis methodology to worldwide problems.Read more ›
The big eye-opener for me was that "World Systems" is NOT the same as Whole Systems. World Systems is entirely anthropomorphic and addresses the inter-relationships among forms of human organization, with the state and the marketplace/capitalism being the primary focus.
This is a 2004 work in its 5th printing, the author is a giant in his field that I am surprised to learn of so late (I am 57 years old with multiple graduate degrees), and therefore this overview is a most welcome work in my reading. The World Systems work originated in the 1970's concurrently with the Whole Systems work of Buckminster Fuller, the Meadows, and Robert Ackoff.
The heart of the book is found on page 88 after a very fine lead-up that explains the three competing human ideologies of conservativism, liberalism, and radicalism (anti-system).
QUOTE: "The key element of the debate is the degree to which any social system, in this case the future one we are constructing, will lean in one direction or the other on two long-standing central issues of social organization--liberty and equality--issues that are more closely intertwined than social though in the modern world-system has been willing to assert.Read more ›
"Part of the problem is that we have studied these phenomena in separate boxes to which we have given special names - politics, economics, the social structure, culture - without seeing that these boxes are constructs more of our imagination than of reality. The phenomena dealt with in these separate boxes are so closely intermeshed that each presumes the other, each affects the other, each is incomprehensible without taking into account the other boxes.
World-systems analysis meant first of all the substitution of a unit of analysis called the 'world-system' for the standard unit of analysis, which was the national state. On the whole, historians had been analyzing national histories, economists national economies, political scientists national political structures, and sociologists national societies. World-systems analysts raised a skeptical eyebrow, questioning whether any of these objects of study really existed... they substituted 'historical systems' [for these objects].
[The] world-economy was said to be marked by an axial division of labor between core-like production processes and peripheral production processes, which resulted in an unequal exchange favoring those involved in core-like production processes. Since such processes tended to group together in particular countries, one could use a shorthand language by talking of core and peripheral zones" or of core, peripheral, and semiperipheral states depending on the types of production processes predominant in each particular state.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Call me ignorant, but after reading the entirety of this book, I felt no more enlightened than before. Yes, I freely admit that I read this because it was required for a class. Read morePublished 7 months ago by G.R.
Wallerstein is an important read for World History. Groundbreaking theoretical work.Published 9 months ago by Karl Krotke
A good intro to world systems analysis in a brief space.Published 11 months ago by Donald F. Donahue
World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction is a very well written, deliciously logical presentation of the theory by its leading authority and as such is a must have/must read to... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mario de Vivo
Good introduction to the theory by the originator. Not a long book.Published 23 months ago by John Fowler
This book is a solid introduction to Wallerstein's version of "World-Systems Analysis" which is a way of approaching political-economy that inherits quite a bit of the... Read morePublished on July 10, 2014 by C. D. Varn
This summary is brief but effective. I try to turn all my friends onto World System Analysis, because it puts economics in social context, which makes more sense for our world. Read morePublished on May 29, 2014 by Rebecca