Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
World Systems Theory
World systems theory is one of the most influential of the Marxist-inspired theories of international relations. Its impact has been felt across the social sciences and humanities, influencing not only students of politics but also historians, geographers, and sociologists. The focus of analysis is on a global economic system, which is the source of processes of historical change and many features of the social world. The key influences on world systems theory include Lenin's analysis of imperialism, the work of dependency school theorists such as Andre Gunder Frank, and the French Annales school, in particular Fernand Braudel. World systems theory is most closely associated with the work of Immanuel Wallerstein, and his work provides the focus for this entry, although the general approach has been adapted, developed, and critiqued by a number of other writers. Three main characteristics distinguish world systems theory: 1. It is ontologically and epistemologically systemic. 2. ...