Making Waves unearths the successive, worldwide waves of revolts, rebellions, and revolutions that have shaken and remade the world from the eighteenth century to the present. It challenges us to rethink not only our limited conceptions of social movements but the very character and possibilities of social movements. The authors show how successive outbursts of global social protest have undermined world capitalist orders and, through both their successes and their failures, provided the basis for long periods of stable capitalist rule across all the zones of the world-economy. The surprises start in the Age of Revolution, when the antisystemic wave of slave revolts that led to the Haitian Revolution is related to the systemic effects of their combination with the U.S. and French Revolutions. The analysis comes up to the present, when a wave of post-1989 movements points to quite divergent futures based, as in the past, on the search for alternatives to communities organized by capital accumulation, nation-states, and the accelerating commodification and fragmentation of human needs, identities, and desires.
“These essays continue to mine the ideas and insights of the great theorist of world systems, Immanuel Wallerstein. … A refreshing way of considering some relatively familiar occurrences. Recommended. Collections on political sociology and social movements.”