• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

World-Systems Theory

  • By: Barney Warf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

One of the major models of how the global system of states and markets operates, world–systems theory, introduced by the sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein in the 1970s, is an enormously influential perspective on the changing structure and dynamics of the world economy. In many respects, it retains a fundamentally Marxist version of the world, one that puts production, class, uneven development, and historical context at the center.

The focus of world-systems theory is on the entire world rather than on individual nation-states. This view maintains that one cannot study the internal dynamics of countries without also examining their external ones; thus, the boundary between foreign and domestic effectively disappears. This stance notes that all regions are interconnected; that is, they never exist in isolation. Moreover, this focus ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles