The dominant view in social science has been that the modern world shows a pattern of linear development in which all positive social trends rise (albeit at an uncertain speed) toward a relatively homogenized world. In the post-1945 period, some analysts contested this linear model, arguing that the modern world was rather one of escalating polarization. Their view was strengthened by the separate emergence within the natural sciences of complexity studies, which suggested that natural systems inevitably moved away from equilibrium, and at a certain point bifurcated radically.
This book, based on a truly collaborative international research project, evaluates the empirical evidence in this debate in order to (1) give an adequate portrayal of the historical realities of the world-system, (2) draw a nuanced assessment about this debate, and (3) provide the basis on which we can not only envisage probable future trends but also draw conclusions about the policy and/or political implications of past and future research.
The work of ten research clusters, based on crucial topics of overlapping nodes of social activity, provides a vantage-point with which to assess the basic issue; a clear picture emerges of "world-historical interpretations of continuing polarizations."
Table of Contents
01 - Introduction
by Immanuel Wallerstein
02 - Ecology and the Geography of Capitalism
by Ana Esther Ceceña
03 - Economic Inequality, Stratification, and Mobility
by Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz and Timothy Patrick Moran
04 - Cities
by Peter J. Taylor, Michael Hoyler, and Dennis Smith
05 - Peasantries
by Eric Vanhaute, Hanne Cottyn, and Yang Wang
06 - Large Enterprises and Corporate Power
by Jorge Fonseca
07 - Intellectual Property
by Ravi Sundaram
08 - The States
by Atilio A. Borom and Paloma Nottebohm
09 - Citizenship
by Oleksandr Fisun and Volodymyr Golovko
10 - Patriarchal Systems and Women's Spaces
by Linda Christiansen-Ruffman
11 - Deviance
by Ari Sitas, Sumangala Damodaran, Weibke Keim & Nicos Trimikliniotis
12 – Conclusion
by Immanuel Wallerstein
Immanuel Wallerstein has been a Senior Research Scholar at Yale University since 2000, having taught previously at many distinguished universities. Among his many books, he is the author of the magisterial 4-volume work, The Modern World System. Volume IV is recently published.