Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction” as Want to Read:
World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  413 ratings  ·  32 reviews
In World-Systems Analysis, Immanuel Wallerstein provides a concise and accessible introduction to the comprehensive approach that he pioneered thirty years ago to understanding the history and development of the modern world. Since Wallerstein first developed world-systems analysis, it has become a widely utilized methodology within the historical social sciences and a com ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published August 27th 2004 by Duke University Press Books (first published 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about World-Systems Analysis, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about World-Systems Analysis

Honor and Polygamy by Omar FarhadThe Prince by Niccolò MachiavelliThe Republic by PlatoThe Communist Manifesto by Karl MarxPolitics by Aristotle
76th out of 193 books — 224 voters
Freakonomics by Steven D. LevittThe Tipping Point by Malcolm GladwellOutliers by Malcolm GladwellNickel and Dimed by Barbara EhrenreichBlink by Malcolm Gladwell
Sociology Books
248th out of 265 books — 250 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 865)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This is a short introduction to the grand multivolume world-systems theory first described inThe Modern World-System I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century and later described in such books as Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350 and Europe and the People Without History: With a New Preface.

The short summary is that this analysis involves transnational schemes of production, with 'core' economies which are industriali
This was my intro to Wallerstein and I've been hooked ever since. Its introductory and a quick read, so its enjoyable, but do not expect too much beyond a run over of his major ideas. Excellent are chapter one, which gives a critical history of knowledge (which we divide into the three spheres of physical and social sciences as well as the humanities) that brings us to the W's concept of historical social-science/World Systems Theory as a critique of dominant modes of looking at the world (this ...more
C. Derick Varn
This book is a solid introduction to Wallerstein's version of "World-Systems Analysis" which is a way of approaching political-economy that inherits quite a bit of the Marxist historical apparatus but moves away from the focus on the proletariat as the subject of modern history, and instead looks at the inter-relationship of structures. Still, the Marxist political economy buttresses the entire apparatus with reinforcement from systems theory and Weberian sociology even if Wallerstein is critiqu ...more
Nate Huston
Only touched very briefly on this book, but I was very intrigued. I'm not sure if I agree with all of the author's premises, but I like where his head's at. Basically, Wallerstein says the world is way too complex to derive much value from examining only one single aspect of it. His thoughts regarding core and periphery, whether they are necessarily borne out in today's markets and international interactions, are nonetheless compelling and worth a thought or two.
Wallerstein has such a capacious knowledge of history that he is able to make generalizations that few could get away with and remain accurate. This short, highly readable book serves first as a lucid explanation of world-systems analysis, whereby historical analysis is carried out not using not nation states as a base but a world-system, or a "spatial/temporal zone which cuts across many political and cultural units, one that represents and integrated zone of activity and institutions which obe ...more
Patric Esh
The general information given to support the theory is common sense. Because the information is common sense, I accept the overall theory as valid (core, semi-peripheral, peripheral) . Yet, the rest of his analysis is lacking sufficient evidence, strong, clear backing to the evidence given, or the history he depicts is skin deep or wrong. I understand the book is an introduction, yet the arguments still need to be clear and justifiable for me to want to learn more. Some in site citations would b ...more
A very good introduction to Wallerstein's "World-Systems Analysis" which gives you just the theory without most of the socio-historic studies which it is based on. If you are interested in Wallerstein's school of thought, this is the first book to read.

As for the theory itself; I do not find it convincing, due to its assumption of economic primacy (which ignores the autonomy of politics, ideology and other social networks), determinism (which cannot be proven), binary world view (which ignores t
Mike Hankins
This is difficult to review. The book succeeds well at its task, which is to introduce new readers to Wallerstein's concept of World System theory. And its short enough to read in a single sitting. It's a primer to introduce big concepts before jumping into to the more dense multi-volume work that explains his ideas in detail. However, I happen to not be a fan of his theory, so this book doesn't do much for me.

The basic concept is this: Wallerstein thinks that for the last 500 years or so, the w
This is the sort of book that every historian ought to keep on the shelf, because it is really short and easy to read, and even if you don't agree with world-systems theory you should know basically what it is. I tend to like this particular way of looking at the world, although thinking about the big picture of it all gets to be too much for me sometimes. I would rather spend my time looking at small places, and thinking about where they fit (and have fit in the past) within the world system. I ...more
Guang Tse
As always, hindsight is 50/50, and Wallerstein provides an elegant and taut analysis of the development of the world beyond the strictures of what was essentially the 19th century idea of the modern nation-state. I am no social scientist and cannot verify his (sometimes suspiciously sweeping) generalizations, but his claims are also pretty general and thus aren't particularly radical. I did not care much for his rousing but ultimately facile predictions of the end of our world-system, though.

Jayden gonzalez
*me after reading the part that goes "social-democrats thought they could could elected to the legislature and then achieve socialism. These were logical assumptions. They were also false"*

"Sounds good to me, Immanuel Wallerstein."

*me after reading the part that goes "revolutionaries like lenin thought they could build vanguards of disciplined workers to seize power through force and then achieve socialism. These were logical assumptions. They were also false."*

"[Citation Needed], Immanuel Walle
Jose Palafox
From the Preface:

"It is important to look anew not only at how the world in which we live works but also at how we come to think about this world. World-systems analysts see themselves therefore as engaging in a fundamental protest against the ways in which we have thought we know the world. But we also believe that the emergence of this mode of analysis is a reflection of, an expression of, the real protest about the deep inequalities of the world-system that are so politically relevant in our
Jason Yang
In general, I thought this was a great primer to world-systems analysis. A lot of the ideas presented here were intuitive to me, but not things I would normally think about. Indeed, when studying any complex system, it's difficult to immediately grasp how different features feedback and interact with each other.

This book was not meant to be a textbook, so it's light on content, but I appreciate the terse introduction to international socio/econo/politico- analysis.
Oct 26, 2012 Trav rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: saass, ir, 632
Wallerstein writes with a clear ideological agenda. The points he makes are interesting, but I do not believe them to be that valid.

The core, semi-periphery and periphery demarcation of states is losing its relevance with the emergence of innovative and entrepreneurial industries in China, Brazil and India. To view this countries as solely centres of outsourcing is to deny them their people their due.
As a demonstration of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, this is brilliant, and far outstrips most Marxists of, e.g., the Monthly Review or TSSI schools. What's really strange is that no one seems to have noticed Wallerstein's work is wholly premised on the TRPF -- and so most criticisms completely miss the very elegant (and crushingly deterministic) dialectic at work here.
May 22, 2012 David rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: his, phil, sci
The first part of this work covers much of the same kind of ground that Bobbitt covers in "Shield of Achilles"...the second half devolves into pounding square pegs into round holes via forcing conclusions through the Communist dialectic. Overall Bobbitt's work is superior since it objectively looks forward from where we've been historically without falling back on dated ideology.
One unifying framework for understanding modern socio-political phenomena, which I happen to agree with. As an introduction to world-systems theory, this was quite thorough and coherent. I recommend this to anyone who would like to actively participate in the betterment of humanity. I will definitely check out the works listed in the book's "suggested reading" section.
Well-written sociological text on how World systems work, how our Capitalistic system originated, and how it's in crisis, soon to be doomed. It made me realize this is why everyone is so obsessed with End-of-the-World concepts and post-apocalyptic story-telling. We are at the end of the world, but that of a capitalistic world system. Thank God; I'm broke!
Very good. Slightly paradigm shifting, but not as impacting as Wallerstein's "Uncertainties of Knowledge". It's interesting conceptually, but I didn't get a lot of practical information from it. Essentially, governments and markets are defined by the (necessarily capitalistic) economy, not vice versa.
Before I read this book I did not even know what a world-system was. Uh I don't really know how to review this, it was kind of dry but it's a book of theory. About world-systems. Basically I'm just trying to keep my brain from atrophying too badly post-college. And pre-reading the Twilight series.
Ben Sweezy
Fascinating. Good introduction to the field of world-systems theory. Go, high margin core processes leaching off the periphery! Be sure to dig into those footnotes!

I was introduced to Wallerstein in my Political Geography class at UNC long ago. Ah, neo-marxist geopolitics.
Ryan Lincoln
A great book for a beginner in political economy like me. I learned a lot, and its a very good introduction to concepts such as core-periphery, global capitalism, etc.
May 13, 2012 Tori marked it as to-finish
Shelves: political-theory
Read the Introduction and first two chapters... seems pretty interesting. Well-written introduction to Wallerstein's theories and world-systems.
Simply one of the best books I've read this year and a must-read for anyone interested in how our world has evolved.
Jimmy Zed
Jun 23, 2013 Jimmy Zed rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jimmy by:
Relatively Solid - over-brief. Wish it had more depth, but it is an 'introduction' after all.

Wow three volumes condensed into 90 pages! But it works, and I want everyone to read it.
Cleary written guide for anyone interested in W.S. analysis
everything i believe about workd system politics
Anirudh Karnick
It's just an introduction but a good one.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 28 29 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350
  • The Long Twentieth Century
  • ReORIENT: Global Economy in the Asian Age
  • The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time
  • Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century
  • One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth
  • The Power Elite
  • The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism
  • Empire
  • Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism
  • Capital, Volume 3: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole (Das Kapital, #3)
  • The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy Of American Empire
  • The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry Into a Category of Bourgeois Society
  • Social Theory of International Politics
  • War and Change in World Politics
  • The Accumulation of Capital
  • Discourse on Colonialism
  • Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: An Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber
Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein is a scholar of politics, sociologist, historical social scientist, and world-systems analyst. His bimonthly commentaries on world affairs are syndicated.
More about Immanuel Wallerstein...
The Modern World-System I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century (Studies in Social Discontinuity) Historical Capitalism with Capitalist Civilization The Decline of American Power: The U.S. in a Chaotic World Utopistics: Or Historical Choices of the Twenty-First Century European Universalism: The Rhetoric of Power

Share This Book