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World System Analysis: An Introduction

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Silvio La Torre

on 15 May 2015

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Transcript of World System Analysis: An Introduction

World Systems Analysis: An Introduction
Immanuel Wallerstein
Immanuel Wallerstein
Born on September 28, 1930
American Sociologist
Historical social scientist
World-system analyst
Nigeria: Historical Context
In 1970s he developed the best-known version of world system analysis.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
1960: Nigeria gains independence from British Empire
1967-70: Nigerian Civil War
1970-99: Military juntas
1999-2015: Period of progressive democratization
Known as the “Giant of Africa”, with 174 million inhabitants Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world and the largest in population in the African continent.
Among his works, in 2004 he published
Ch 1
What is the approach to be adopted in the analysis of reality?
Ch 2-3-4
Historical evolution and functioning of the modern World-System
Ch 5
End of capitalism: a leap into the future
Historical origins of world-system analysis: from Social Science disciplines to historical Social Sciences
Social Sciences: study of reality
No episodic history --> need to focus on
geo-culture dynamics
Historical change associated to economic development
World-System analysis postulates
Unit of analysis
: world system
Modern world-system
: capitalist world economy
Historical perspective
Why can we classify Nigeria as a semi-peripheral country?
The modern world-system as a capitalist world economy: production, surplus value, and polarization
chapter 2
The modern
world system
is a
world economy
of the capitalist world economy
Evolution of the capitalist world-economy:
Kondratieff Cycles
Weak government: widespread corruption and election rigging
Relatively weak institutions: little tax base and inability to support infrastructure building
Dependant on limited types of economic activity, mainly oil exportation
Heavy influence from core states and multinational corporations
Political buffer zone: both exploited and exploiting
chapter 3
The rise of the state-systems: Sovereign Nation-States, Colonies, and the Interstate System
Modern world-system --> system of Sovereign States
Strength of states depend on level of production
Relationships between states:
How has Nigeria moved from the periphery to the semi-periphery?
Transition in the 1990s
Military juntas in the 1970/80s have helped stabilize the country
Fast growing urbanization of the country (annual rate of 4,66%)
Transition from a rural/agricultural system to an urbanized/industrial one: unexpected emergence of non-oil sector and progressive diversification of the economy
Foreign capital inflow into the country (increase of FDI)
Not fixed --> hegemonic shifts
chapter 4
The creation of a geo-culture: Ideologies, Social Movements, Social Science
Traditional ideologies:
Centrist Liberalism and
Western Dominance
chapter 5
The Modern World-System in crisis: Bifurcation, Chaos, and Choices
Causes of the crisis of capitalist system
Structural tendencies: squeeze in profits
1968: end of modern geo-culture
... A new system?
“There might be different kinds of views on what should replace capitalism. We find ourselves confronted by a
bifurcation in the political struggle
: on one side the opportunity for a
more democratic
, more egalitarian world; on the other side, a
more polarized
world, with worse inequalities and exploitations than capitalism”.
(Wallerstein, RT News Interview)
Areas with specific economic and political structures
Two economic systems:
1. World Empires (e.g. Roman Empire)
2. World-Economies
Main Focus
Unequal exchange: transfer of surplus from periphery to core
Tripartite separation into
Direction of generalization
States as instruments of capitalism
Not really taken into consideration different capacities of all societies
Capitalist system dictates everything
Why was transforming the world economy into a world empire never possible?
System maintenance
Only world-economy compatible with capitalism
Need for state internal organization
World-economy as a contemporary model
OECD --> core countries
NIE --> semi-periphery
LDC --> Periphery

According to Wallerstein limited mobility
For liberals capitalism is an instrument that allows every state to move to the top
What is a World-System?
What's next for the future? Is Nigeria shifting towards the core?
Our research seems to indicate that Nigeria might be moving towards becoming a core nation:
Sharp, ongoing improvement in economic freedom
Improving performance in non-oil sectors is paving the way for a sustained economic growth
Restructuring of the huge foreign debt created in the 1970s (only sub-saharian African country to do so)
Nigeria seems to already have become competitive with a relatively low labor cost: phase two of this would be an emergence of worker's rights, a typical feature of core nations
Greta Gabbarini
Chiara Falduto
Athina Reuter
Marianne Cadotte
Elena Marati
Chiara Feliziani
Silvio La Torre
Beatrice Giunco
Stella Levantesi

chapter 1
Presentation Structure
Intro: Brief overview on the author
First part: Book contents
Second part: Critique
Third part: Case study

Nigeria in the World-System
Can it be considered a semi-peripheral country?
What are its relations with core countries?
World-system as a NOT static system: how has Nigeria improved / how will it improve?
Full transcript