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The Modern World-System I

The Modern World-System I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century

Immanuel Wallerstein
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Pages: 440
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pnrj9
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  • Book Info
    The Modern World-System I
    Book Description:

    Immanuel Wallerstein's highly influential, multi-volume opus,The Modern World-System,is one of this century's greatest works of social science. An innovative, panoramic reinterpretation of global history, it traces the emergence and development of the modern world from the sixteenth to the twentieth century.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94857-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. QUOTATION CREDITS
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. PROLOGUE TO THE 2011 EDITION
    (pp. xvii-xxx)

    The Modern World-Systemwas published in 1974. It was actually written in 1971-1972. I had some difficulty finding a publisher for it. The book was about the sixteenth century, and it dealt with a virtually unknown topic: a world-economy, spelled deliberately with a hyphen. It was long, and it had an enormous number of substantive footnotes. When it appeared, one less than friendly reviewer complained that the footnotes crawled up and down the page. Finally, Academic Press, and its then scholarly consulting editor, Charles Tilly, decided to take a chance by putting it in their new social science series.

    When...

  7. INTRODUCTION: ON THE STUDY OF SOCIAL CHANGE
    (pp. 2-12)

    Change is eternal. Nothing ever changes. Both clichés are “true.” Structures are those coral reefs of human relations which have a stable existence over relatively long periods of time. But structures too are born, develop, and die.

    Unless we are to use the study of social change as a term synonymous to the totality of social science, its meaning should be restricted to the study of changes in those phenomena which are most durable—the definition of durability itself being of course subject to change over historical time and place.

    One of the major assertions of world social science is...

  8. 1 MEDIEVAL PRELUDE
    (pp. 14-64)

    In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, there came into existence what we may call a European world-economy. It was not an empire yet it was as spacious as a grand empire and shared some features with it. But it was different, and new. It was a kind of social system the world has not really known before and which is the distinctive feature of the modern world-system. It is an economic but not a political entity, unlike empires, city-states and nation-states. In fact, it precisely encompasses within its bounds (it is hard to speak of boundaries) empires, city-states,...

  9. 2 THE NEW EUROPEAN DIVISION OF LABOR: C. 1450-1640
    (pp. 66-130)

    It was in the sixteenth century that there came to be a European world-economy based upon the capitalist mode of production. The most curious aspect of this early period is that capitalists did not flaunt their colors before the world. The reigning ideology was not that of free enterprise, or even individualism or science or naturalism or nationalism. These would all take until the eighteenth or nineteenth century to mature as world views. To the extent that an ideology seemed to prevail, it was that of statism, theraison d’état. Why should capitalism, a phenomenon that knew no frontiers, have...

  10. 3 THE ABSOLUTE MONARCHY AND STATISM
    (pp. 132-162)

    It is evident that the rise of the absolute monarchy in western Europe is coordinate in time with the emergence of a European world-economy. But is it cause or consequence? A good case can be made for both. On the one hand, were it not for the expansion of commerce and the rise of capitalist agriculture, there would scarcely have been the economic base to finance the expanded bureaucratic state structures.¹ But on the other hand, the state structures were themselves a major economic underpinning of the new capitalist system (not to speak of being its political guarantee). As Braudel...

  11. 4 FROM SEVILLE TO AMSTERDAM: THE FAILURE OF EMPIRE
    (pp. 164-222)

    The European world-economy in creation was a great prize, and it is understandable that men should seek to control it. The route of imperial domination was the classical route, familiar to the men of the era. Many dreamed of the possibility. The Hapsburgs under Charles V made a valiant attempt to absorb all of Europe into itself. By 1557, the attempt had failed. And Spain steadily lost not only its political imperium but its economic centrality as well. Many cities aspired to be the hub of the European world-economy. Seville, Lisbon, Antwerp, Lyon, Genoa, and Hamburg all had aspirations if...

  12. 5 THE STRONG CORE-STATES: CLASS-FORMATION AND INTERNATIONAL COMMERCE
    (pp. 224-298)

    One of the persisting themes of the history of the modern world is the seesaw between “nationalism” and “internationalism.” I do not refer to the ideological seesaw, though it of course exists, but to the organizational one. At some points in time the major economic and political institutions are geared to operating in the international arena and feel that local interests are tied in some immediate way to developments elsewhere in the world. At other points of time, the social actors tend to engage their efforts locally, tend to see the reinforcement of state boundaries as primary, and move toward...

  13. 6 THE EUROPEAN WORLD-ECONOMY: PERIPHERY VERSUS EXTERNAL ARENA
    (pp. 300-344)

    The boundaries of an entity defined in political terms are relatively easy to ascertain. If we want to know the territory covered by the Chinese empire in the year 1600, we need to consult some archives which tell us of the juridical claims as of that date. To be sure, there will always be marginal regions, where sovereignty is contested by two rival state structures, or one in which the imperial authority can scarcely be perceived as existing de facto which may lead us to consider the claim to be juridical fiction. But the criteria are fairly straightforward: The combination...

  14. 7 THEORETICAL REPRISE
    (pp. 346-357)

    Theorizing is not an activity separate from the analysis of empirical data. Analyses can only be made in terms of theoretical schema and propositions. On the other hand, analyses of events or processes must include as a starting point a whole series of specific values of certain of the variables, on the basis of which one can explain how the final outcomes were arrived at. In order to convey the historical explanation with clarity, it is often the case that one has to assume or glide over the exposition of the formal interrelations between variables.

    Consequently, it often makes sense...

  15. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 358-386)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 387-410)