Sociology Index


World-Systems Theory shows that capitalism is not just an economic system bounded by national borders highlighting class inequality. According to World-Systems Theory, capitalism must be seen as involving relationships among nations and these relationships are based on inequality. World-Systems Theory is based on the work of Karl Marx. World-Systems Theory was made into a developed set of ideas by Immanuel Wallerstein. World-systems theory is also referred to as world-systems analysis or the world-systems perspective.

According to World Systems Theory, those nations which developed capitalistic economies early then went on to dominate other nations through colonialism and colonization or simply through linking the economies of the nations in ways that favored the more dominant nation and placed the others into a condition of dependency on the dominant nation. This state of dependency, according to World Systems Theory, tended to hamper the development of the other economies.

The world-systems theory perspective, indebted to Marxism, views capitalism as the engine of development in the modern era, and sees society as bearing at least a peripheral relationship to capitalist expansion. World-Systems Theory is a macro-scale approach to world history and social change emphasizing that the world-system should be the primary unit of social analysis and not nation states. World-systems theory is also a type of conflict perspective.

World-systems theory refers to the inter-regional and transnational division of labor, which divides the world into core countries, and the periphery countries. Core countries focus on higher skill, capital-intensive production, whereas the rest of the world focuses on low-skill, labor-intensive production and extraction of raw materials, constantly reinforcing the dominance of the core countries.

Books on World Systems Theory

Ecology and the World-System (Contributions in Economics and Economic History)
by Walter L. Goldfrank (Editor), David Goodman (Editor), Andrew Szasz (Editor)

World-Systems Theory and Practice - American Anthropological Association P. Nick Kardulias.

Emerging Issues in the 21st Century World-System Theory.

World System History: The Social Science of Long-Term Change
by Robert Allen Denemark (Editor), Jonathan Friedman, Barry K. Gills, George Modelski.

World Cities in a World-System - Paul L. Knox, Peter J. Taylor (Editors).

Questioning Geopolitics : Political Projects in a Changing World-System
by Georgi M. Derluguian (Editor), Scott L. Greer (Editor).

The Historical Evolution of World-Systems (Evolutionary Processes in World Politics) - Edition - February 19, 2005 -  Christopher Chase-Dunn (Editor), E. N. Anderson (Editor).

An Introduction to the World-System Perspective - Thomas R. Shannon.

The World System: Five Hundred Years of Five Thousand? - by Andre Gunder Frank, Barry K. Gills.

Space and Transport in the World-System by Paul S. Ciccantell (Editor), Stephen G. Bunker (Editor).