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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Understanding Waves of Globalization and Resistance in the Capitalist World(-)System*:Social Movements and Critical Global(ization) Studies


Abstract: The world(-)systems* perspective provides a useful framework for discerning the continuities and discontinuities (emergent properties) of long historical waves of global integration (globalization) and social resistance to (capitalist) globalization.. The capitalist world(-)system has experienced long cycles of economic and political integration for centuries and these have been interspersed by periods of social resistance to capitalist globalization, in which disadvantaged, exploited and dominated groups contest the hierarchies that global capitalism and hegemonic states have constructed. In the contemporary period the intensification of capitalist globalization has been accompanied by a strengthening of social resistance and the emergence of new social movements that resist neoliberal globalization and attempt to build alternatives. Careful study of these long waves of globalization and resistance can provide us with important insights that are relevant to the task of building a more humane and democratic global commonwealth in the 21st century. Research and teaching on the role of the new social movements and the historical dialectic between globalization, resistance, and democratization should be a central aspect of the new critical Global(ization) Studies.

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