World-Systems Analysis

Senior Year Seminar, Sociology 01.920.422.01

T-Th (1:10-2:30), Scott Hall 119 (CAC)

Rutgers University, Spring 1999

Professor: József Böröcz


office hours: Tue + Thu 4:30-5:50 at 172 College Ave 932-1367

(Departmental Office: Lucy Stone Hall B207 445-2435)

World-systems analysis is a uniquely powerful area of the social sciences. In addition to sociology, where it emerged, it has exerted a lasting influence on historiography, geography, political science, and anthropology, in effect all but obviating the boundaries among those disciplines. This is so due to the simplicity of its basic insight: the idea that attention to the long-term, material and ideational interconnectedness of the whole of the globe will yield a more accurate description of so cial change than continued preoccupation with a phantom, the unitary, unconnected "folk-nation-state-society" imagined as the basic unit in modern politics as well as much of the analysis that passes as social science. This course is an introduction to world-systems scholarship. It will not make you an expert in world-systems analysis but will, as long as you put your mind to it, surely change the way you look at the world and the way you see yourself in it.

This course (1) summarizes the core of state-of-the-art in "thinking big" and (2) examines world-systems-relevant scholarship in sociology and some adjacent fields. The founder of world-systems analysis, Immanuel Wallerstein defined the subject of his studies as 'a historical system.' In the first part of the course, we shall emphasize the first component of that definition ('historical'); in the second, we focus on the contemporary 'system.'

The course assumes that you have more than a newspaper-level understanding of the nature of, and the most fundamental concepts used in, the social sciences. In other words:


The course consists of two meetings-mainly discussions, interspersed with a few lectures--each week. (For the precise schedule, including the required reading for each week's discussions session, see pages 3-4 of this handout.) The lectures build partly on the readings but NEVER REPEAT THEM. You will not be able to do well unless you (1) come to class, (2) do the readings thoroughly and on time and, most important, (3) use your head while doing both.

For the classes that have reading assignments, each student is required to come to class with a one-page summary of (some aspect[s] of) the reading(s) for that class. You are responsible for bringing as many copies as the number of people in the class. We distribute those notes and use them for reference. The notes are meant to be serious intellectual products and constitute part of your grade. Speaking of which, grading will be a judicious combination of scores obtained from the quality of your work as testified by:


To enable you to enrich your personal library, the required and recommended books have been ordered through the Recto & Verso Bookshop, 90 Albany St, New Albany St, 247-2324. The library copies of the books are awaiting your perusal on the Undergraduate Reserve in Alexander Library. For your convenience, a course pack has been prepared which includes all of the readings that are not in the books on reserve, and also excepting those-Chase-Dunn & Grimes, Siemsen, Smith & Timberlake, and Böröcz 1999-that are available online. (Information on how to access them is included in the bibiliography at the end of this syllabus). You are of course also free to use the original paper versions of the journals in the library. Experience has shown that cooperation in access to the readings has been very useful.

Midterm and Final:

Both exams are in-class, closed-notes and closed-books. Their purpose is to see how well you have digested the weekly readings and lectures, and to reward those who are best at doing so. They consist of 5 to 8 questions asking for short (say, two to four sentence) essay answers and probably 1 or 2 question(s) requiring a one-page answer. If you do the work (attend and follow the lectures, do the readings, and participate in the discussions, etc.) during the semester, you should find the exams easy and the time allotted for it plenty. I invite you to propose questions that you would like to see in the exams. If I find them smart/interesting/witty enough, who knows, I might include them.

FINAL EXAM: May 6, 12-3 pm, Mark your calendar now!

Term Paper:

For the paper, you will form groups of 5-6 students that will be required to cooperate.: the "paper"-segment of your grade will be the same as that for all members of your group. Each group will research, write and present to the class, a research paper in world-systems analysis. The choice of the specific topic is yours. Each group should visit me during my office hours and discuss their plans for a paper. Each group will be required to submit a one-page statement on their paper topic. Submission of a topic statement represents a contract that the group will write a serious study on the subject matter. Then the group will perform the research, write the paper, present it to class, revise it by taking into account the comments received after the presentation, and hand in the final version.



Month/ day lecture / discussion topic assignment for the day
1/19 Tu LECTURE: Introduction + Class organization
1/21 Th LECTURE: Origins and precursors to the world-system approach + The Global Assembly Line
1/26 Tu LECTURE: Basic ideas in world-system analysis one-page review of The Global Assembly Line
1/28 Th DISCUSSION: What is unique about world-system analysis? Martin & Beittel + Chase-Dunn & Grimes
2/2 Tu DISCUSSION: Wallerstein's historical project I Wallerstein 1974:2-221
2/4 Th DISCUSSION: Wallerstein's historical project II Wallerstein 1974:224-357
2/9 Tu DISCUSSION: Extension to pre-capitalism: The Mongolian world of the 13th century Abu-Lughod
2/11 Th LECTURE: "Mode of Production" vs "Labor Control": The Brenner-Wallerstein Debate
2/16 Tu DISCUSSION: World historical anthropology I Wolf 1982:1-261
2/18 Th DISCUSSION: World historical anthropology II Wolf 1982:263-391
2/23 Tu DISCUSSION: How apparent trivialities (such as sugar) can change the world Mintz
2/25 Th FILM: TBA
3/2 Tu DISCUSSION: Analyzing European history in terms of global state power (a Weberian equivalent to world-system analysis) Tilly
3/4 Th LECTURE: Politics, statehood and hegemony in the contemporary w-s
3/9 Tu DISCUSSION: The Cold War Böröcz 1992 +


Spring Break
3/23 Tu DISCUSSION: Cycles: Prices and Wars Goldstein
3/25 Th LECTURE: Measuring: Inequalities and linkages in the world-system
3/30 Tu DISCUSSION: Data analysis demo
4/1 Th DISCUSSION: The urban logics of the world-system

Sassen: 1994 +

Smith & Timberlake

4/6 Tu DISCUSSION: Global finance Sassen: 1996 +

Chase-Dunn & Rubinson

4/8 Th LECTURE: Economic logic, violence and the state
4/13 Tu DISCUSSION: Global Violence: The Case of the Gulf War Siemsen
4/15 Th DISCUSSION: What linkages are good for: flows and commodity chains
4/20 Tu DISCUSSION: Labor and leisure migration Portes & Böröcz + Böröcz: 1996: chs 1, 2, 3
4/22 Th LECTURE: Cultural imperialism, cultural globalization, etc.
4/27 Tu DISCUSSION: Group papers conference I & II
4/29 Th DISCUSSION: Group papers conference III & IV

List of Readings:

Abu-Lughod, Janet. 1989. Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350. New York: Oxford University Press. HC41.A28 1989

Bornschier, Volker, Christopher K. Chase-Dunn, and Richard Rubinson. 1978. "Cross-National Evidence of the Effects of Foreign Investment and Aid on Economic Growth and Inequality: A Survey of Findings and a Reanalysis." American Journal of Sociology, 84,3:651-83.

Böröcz, József. 1992. "Dual Dependency and Property Vacuum: Social Change on the State Socialist Semiperiphery." Theory & Society, 21:77-104.

Böröcz, József. 1999. "From Comprador State to Auctioneer State: Property Change, Realignment and Peripherialization in Post-State-Socialist Central Europe." David A. Smith, Dorothy Solinger, and Steven Topik (eds.) The State Still Matters. New York: Routledge. Forthcoming in May, 1999. NOT IN COURSE PACK! Available on the internet at Http:// Just type in your name, email address and click on the button next to the title of this paper.

Böröcz, József. 1996. Leisure Migration: A Sociological Study on Tourism. Oxford (UK), Pergamon Press (An Elsevier Science Imprint) DGLSS G155.A1B617 1996

Chase-Dunn, Christopher and Peter Grimes. 1995. "World-Systems Analysis." Annual Review of Sociology, 21:387-417. NOT IN COURSE PACK! This journal is accessible through the internet from any Rutgers library or from a Rutgers email account. Enter IRIS, search the name of the journal, click on "electronic access" and follow the links.

Goldstein, Joshua S. 1985. "Kondratieff Waves as War Cycles." International Studies Quarterly, 29:411-44.

Martin, William G. and Mark Beittel. 1998. "Toward a Global Sociology? Evaluating Current Conceptions, Methods, and Practices." Sociological Quarterly, 1998, 39, 1(Winter):139-161.

Mintz, Sidney. 1985. Sweetness and Power. The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Penguin Books. GT2869.M56 1986

Alejandro Portes and József Böröcz. 1989. "Contemporary Immigration: Theoretical Perspectives on Its Determinants and Modes of Incorporation." International Migration Review. 1. (Silver Issue.) 87,Vol.23,(Fall):606-30.

Sassen, Saskia. 1994. Cities in the World Economy. Thousand Oaks:Pine Forge Press. HT321.S28 1994

Sassen, Saskia. 1996. Losing Control? Sovereignty in an Age of Globalization. New York: Columbia University Press. CAMDN JC327.S27 1996

Siemsen, Cynthia. 1995/96. "Oil, War, and Semiperipheral Mobility: The Case of Iraq." Studies in Comparative International Development, 30,4:24-45. NOT IN COURSE PACK! This journal is accessible through the internet from any Rutgers library or from a Rutgers email account. Enter IRIS, search the name of the journal, click on "electronic access" and follow the links.

Smith, David A and Michael Timberlake. 1995. "Conceptualising and Mapping the Structure of the World System's City System." Urban Studies, 32,2:287-302. NOT IN COURSE PACK! This journal is accessible through the internet from any Rutgers library or from a Rutgers email account. Enter IRIS, search the name of the journal, click on "electronic access" and follow the links.

Tilly, Charles. 1992. Coercion, Capital and the European States, AD 990-1992. Cambridge: Blackwell. KLMR JN94.A2T54 1992

Wallerstein, Immanuel.1974. The Modern World-System I. Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press. HC45.W35 1974 v.1

Wolf, Eric R. 1982. Europe and the People without History. Cartographic illustrations by Noël Diaz. Berkeley: University of California Press. D208.W64 1982


UNDP. 1998. Human Development Report 1998. Published for the United Nations Development Programme by the Oxford University Press, New York / Oxford.