Sunday, April 26, 2009


Wallerstein World System Theory (WST, hereafter) always makes me rethink so much of my own perspective (and perhaps, some of my hopes). When I read WST, I have images that there is black hole, that I will call Capitalist World Economy (CWE),which swallows up everything: states, people, businesses, schools, hopes, peace, health, environment...society! It is a difficult switch to read Wallerstein after reading Bourdieu and Giddens because with WST, although, I agree with the underlying critique, it is an analysis that seems so hopeless whereas both Giddens and Bourdieu provide some hope that people and groups are not powerless ...

However, what I think is one of the most valuable perspective is within WST is the discussion about the powerful and stabalizing role of the semiperiphery. The semiperiphery acts very much like the middle class for the U.S. The semiperiphery are buffers.

I also appreciate the nuanced perspective that Wallerstein offers to explain why the semiperiphery does not flat-out revolt or rebel. Legitimacy as it is intertwined with fear for one's future and perhaps a sliver of hope that one is on her/his way to the core is enough, according to Wallerstein, to keep the semiperipheral nations in line. What do you make of the role that Wallerstein assigns to the semiperiphery? What is going to happen if more and more semiperiphery states decline in this steep world wide recession? What ramifications might (does) Wallerstein predict?

1 comment:

  1. According to Wallerstein, the _semiperiphery_ is a "residual category" which "encompasses a set of regions somewhere between the exploiting and the exploited" (Ritzer 2008). Thus, _residual_ may connotate semiperipheral nations are not a primary focus to Wallerstein. Given the present economic state, it is possible the semiperiphals become peripheral nations given a lack of financial resources. Ultimately, the decline of semipherals may highlight the exploitation by core nations and therefore the oppression experienced by peripheral nations.