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Globalization and the sociology of Immanuel Wallerstein: A critical appraisal


By the turn of the 21st century the concept of globalization had earned its place in the social sciences and debate turned more squarely to the theoretical significance of globalization. Yet not all scholars were happy with the notion of globalization. Some claim that is merely a new name for earlier theories and concepts. Among those who reject new paradigmatic thinking on the current age is Immanuel Wallerstein, the world-renowned sociologist and ‘father’ of the worldsystem paradigm. This article is intended as an appraisal of Wallerstein’s oeuvre in the context of the debate on global transformations in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and from the vantage point of the present author’s own critical globalization perspective. The first three parts summarize and assess Wallerstein’s theoretical system and his many contributions to macro, historical and comparative sociology, to development studies and international political economy. The fourth discusses Wallerstein’s assessment of the evolution of the world capitalist system in recent decades, including his views on the concept of globalization, and the fifth focuses on earlier and more recent critical appraisals of his work, including the present author’s own, in light of the recent transformations in world capitalism identified with globalization.

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