Abstracts

Review XXV, 1, 2002

Louis Fontvieille & Sandrine Michel, "The Transition Between Two Social Orders: The Relation of Education and Growth"

The study of the transformations of relations of production during Kondratieff cycles underlines a reversal in the cyclical behavior of many variables from the interwar period. This reversal is explained as the beginning of the transition between two successive social orders. This new period is characterized by a tendency of the activities linked to human development to be autonomous vis-à-vis capitalist rules. The logic of these activities' development obeys a different rationality from these of capital. This new logic takes place in the heart of capitalist accumulation, becoming both a central and contradictory factor of its growth.



Léo Poncelet, "Bridging Ethnography and World-Systems Analysis"

In this article, the author develops his problematic of an ethnography in the modern world-system. By traveling beyond the closed horizon of the ethnologist and the historian, he rethinks the relation between actor and structure to "articulate the hidden histories." Based on his previous field research, he shows that ethnography and world-systems analysis are complementary areas of knowledge. On the one hand, ethnography can curb the tendencies of analysts of world-systems to reify actions. On the other hand, besides being compatible with an antiutilitarian approach, world-systems analysis can bring about new cohesiveness to the anthropological project by prompting the ethnographer to synchronize short time with long time to better explain the mechanism of the structuration of local historical systems.



Kees Terlouw, "The Semiperipheral Space in the World-System"

The world-systems approach uses geography to explain specific developments in the world-system, but hardly considers the role of space in the general analysis of the world-system. Space is reduced to the scope of social processes. However, space is more than an amorphous expanse. A review of the semiperiphery shows the importance of different forms of space in the world-system. The semiperiphery is no distinct category or zone, but is an arena where contrary core and peripheral forces of comparable strength cause very divergent developments. The semiperiphery houses much dynamism, but it is a transitional and unstable phase in development. These semiperipheral processes take place at different scales, as for example, in the political conflicts between world-systems, in social economic crisis within the world-system, and in spatial processes in corridor regions.



Review XXV, 2, 2002



Cynthia Lucas Hewitt, "Racial Accumulation on a World-Scale: Racial Inequality and Employment"

This article provides an approach to explaining racial stratification within the U.S. national labor market based on an understanding of the world-wide division of labor into groups with different levels of access and rights to resources within the modern world-system. Advantages and disadvantages within capitalist markets are primarily based on level of control over resources. Control over capital is primary among these, and it is organized by ascriptive solidarity. This control--institutionalized as private property and inheritance--is organized via racially delimited marriage pools. This axial division of control over resources by race, I argue, is the essence of the continuing significance of race in socioeconomic outcomes. Support for this analysis is obtained by creating an index of level of wealth held by racial group (racial wealth). The amount of foreign direct investment into the United States by racial group worldwide is used as the proxy for level of control of capital within the United States by racial group. Logistic regression analysis shows that the racial wealth index predicts of an individual's employment status based on a sample collected in four cities (Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, and Los Angeles). It provides a parsimonious single measure of a theoretically relevant dimension that captures the effects commonly parceled out among dummy race variables as "unexplained differences related to race." The implications and trajectories of change in the low level of control over resources by African, Native American, and Asian peoples are discussed.



Miriam Halpern Pereira, "Portugal Between Two Empires"

Paul Bairoch has stated that Portugal could be counted as one of the richest countries in the world in 1800, while in 1913 it was one of the poorest countries in Europe. This is perhaps an overstatement in both cases, but it enables one to perceive the width of the gap between Portugal's development and that of the industrialized countries. Rather than adopting a purely macroeconomic perspective, I have opted for an approach which includes a sectorial analysis and a few case studies, since I believe this is the most adequate way to understand the progress made and the obstacles faced during the period between the loss of the Brazilian empire and the formation of the African empire. This article proves the weakness of some interpretations spread by the "new" economic history.



Elizabeth Rata, "The Transformation of Indigeneity"

Using both a theoretical discussion and a demonstrative research study of a Maori family, this article examines the ways in which the concept of indigeneity began as a local response to the disruptive changes of global capitalism but became transformed into a subversion of its people-based prefigurative character. In New Zealand indigeneity, or the repositioning of social groups in relation to place across time, has legitimated the claim of the ruling group of neotribal capitalism, rather than all Maori, to the inheritance of the traditional tribes, and to the historical grievance settlements. This subversion of an indigenous movement in the interests of repositioned power relations shows how indigeneity has became part of global capitalism's new mechanisms of dispossession and disenfranchisement.



Review XXV, 3, 2002

Ramón Grosfoguel, "Colonial Difference, Geopolitics of Knowledge and Global Coloniality in the Modern/Colonial Capitalist World-System"

This article attempts to clarify some of the concepts and intellectual projects implied in the emerging critical dialogue between world-systems approach and postcolonial critique. It provides an alternative reading of the "modern world-system," or, as Walter Mignolo has recently proposed, the "modern/colonial world-system." It uses the world-systems approach as a point of departure. Yet, by situating or geopolitically locating knowledge production from the colonial difference of the North-South divide, I attempt to reinterpret important aspects of the capitalist world-system. I am situating my knowledge production not in representation of, but from the subaltern experiences of people in the South. Thus, a world-systems approach provides an important conceptual framework to rethink the modern/ colonial world while an epistemic perspective from the subaltern side of the colonial difference contributes to counter certain limitations of the world-systems approach. The first part is about "coloniality of power" and "symbolic capital" as two crucial concepts that force us to rethink global capitalism. The second part discusses the geopolitics of knowledge and the imaginary of the modern/colonial world-system. The third part is a call for a critical dialogue between two literatures: postcolonial critique and the world-systems approach. Finally, the last section is a brief discussion on the implications of these debates for utopian thinking.



Nelson Maldonado-Torres, "Postimperial Reflections on Crisis, Knowledge, and Utopia: Trangresstopic Critical Hermeneutics and the 'Death of European Man'"

This article aims to "unthink" influential philosophical articulations of the crisis of Europe in order to articulate a non-Eurocentric epistemological position that aims to give a consistent expression to the interrelational approach of world-systems analysis. This alternative epistemology demands and foments a postimperial utopia and requires no less than the death of ideals that defend the epistemological superiority of European Man. An analysis and critique of works by Edmund Husserl, Immanuel Wallerstein, and Walter Mignolo lead to the formulation of a positive conception of the crisis of Europe and to weak versions of utopia and "colonial difference." The alternative articulation of these concepts aims to make more flexible and productive the links between knowledge and location. In this way, this article intends to bridge the gap between Wallerstein's world-systems approach and Mignolo's concern with the limits of Eurocentric critiques of Eurocentrism.



Eduardo Mendieta, "Utopia, Dystopia, Utopistics, or the End of Utopia: On Wallerstein's Critique of Historical Materialism"

Wallerstein's project of refunctioning and reviving historical materialism's utopian dimension is placed within the context of a venerable tradition of similar projects, the most notable having been Ernst Bloch's and, more recently, that of Jürgen Habermas. Wallerstein's utopistics are reinscribed within a project of a critique, in the Kantian sense, of utopian reason, and in this way, it is argued, the utopian sources and yearnings of historical materialism are made relevant for an age that suffers from a lack of transformative visions.



Walter D. Mignolo, "The Zapatistas's Theoretical Revolution: Its Historic, Ethics and Political Consequences"

Whatever the future of the Zapatistas's uprising would be, the theoretical revolution they enacted it is here to stay. Theoretical revolutions are not supposed to come from popular sectors, without the necessary research and communicating the results by interviews, the internet, or newspapers. The theoretical revolution of the Zapatistas consists, precisely, in changing the perspective. Those who, in the long history of colonialism, or coloniality (the hidden side of modernity) are not supposed to speak but to be spoken to, not only spoke but managed to be heard. One of the reasons that the Zapatistas are being heard is precisely because they achieved a theoretical revolution. The theoretical revolution require a mediator between the Western and indigenous cosmologies. And required also double translation which, at its turn, ended up in enacting border thinking. I explore these issues and argue that in the theoretical revolution, the Zapatistas changed not only the content but the terms of the conversation.



Teivo Teivainen, "Overcoming Economism"

This article explores theoretical and political dimensions of transnational politics of economism. It argues that as an analytical tool the political/economic dichotomy needs to be adjusted more thoroughly than most political-economy approaches allow for, but as an object of analysis the dichotomy demands more attention than it is generally granted. In order to open up spaces for democratic transformations of the capitalist world-system, the idea of the "economic" has to be deconstructed. In the search for radical and realistic alternatives, a critical articulation between the traditions of economic democracy and cosmopolitan democracy is needed. Moreover, the conceptual resources of constitutional rights can be helpful both in criticizing capitalism and in building alternatives to it.



Review XXV, 4, 2002

Gérard Duménil & Dominique Lévy, "Neoliberalism: The Crime and the Beneficiary"



Neoliberalism is the expression of the return to hegemony of finance, in the wake of the crisis which began in the 1970's. The class character of neoliberalism is evident from an examination of the available figures. Neoliberalism prolonged the deficient profit rates of nonfinancial corporations and, thus, slow growth and unemployment. It was responsible for the deficits and the growing indebtedness of the states, as well as for the crisis of the debt of Third World countries, etc. But not enough attention has been paid to the benefits that finance gleaned from its return to hegemony during the crisis: the stunning rise of the profits and growth of the financial sector. One should not underestimate the sufferings of the unemployed and homeless, or of Third World countries, but perhaps the biggest cost stemming from the rise of finance is the increase in domestic and international instability.



Eric Mielants, "Europe and China Compared"

Pomeranz's study The Great Divergence is a major contribution in historical social science insofar as it informs us why Europe and China experienced different trajectories of socioeconomic development during the Early Modern period. What is unfortunately lacking is an assessment to what extent the diverging path dependencies of these two historical systems were to a certain extent already determined in the preceding period, c. 1200-1500 ce. In comparing the different social structures within the political economy of Europe and China during this "medieval" period, the author attempts to shed a new light on the "transition" debate which has remained insufficiently explored in Pomeranz's otherwise excellent and thought-provoking book.



Tieting Su, "Myth and Mystery of Globalization: World Trade Networks in 1928, 1938, 1960, and 1999"

From a complex structural perspective and employing network method, which combines four basic structural elements, clique, star, dyadic, and null sets, this study examines the world trade networks in 1928, 1938, 1960, and 1999. After an exhaustive search for various possible configurations of world trade networks, this article reveals that these networks, dominated by major powers, exhibit structural characteristics of two phases of a long cycle in the world-economy, (1) the fragmentation or hierarchical phase and (2) integration or "globalization" phase. This article also reveals a paradox of simultaneous international trade expansion and systemic structural fragmentation. Contrary to some recent studies on trade globalization, which seem to have reached the consensus that the world economic system has been in the middle of another great wave of trade globalization, this study indicates that the world trade system has been recently in a structural fragmentation and hierarchical phase.


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