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World Systems Theory

  • In: Encyclopedia of Identity
  • Edited by: Ronald L. Jackson II & Michael A. Hogg
  • Subject:Self & Identity, Identity, Self & Identity

World systems theory (WST) is an interdisciplinary theoretical approach that advances an integrated framework for examining the development and evolution of the modern world under the transformative cultural, political, and economic effects of capitalism. Founding theorist Immanuel Wallerstein (1974) defined a world system as

[a] social system, one that has boundaries, structures, member groups, rules of legitimation, and coherence. Its life is made up of the conflicting forces which hold it together by tension and tear it apart as ...

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