Arrighi Center co-sponsors “World Systems Analysis at a Critical Juncture II” workshop

 August 16, 2023, 12-6 pm

 Temple University Center City, 1515 Market Street, Room 321 (3rd floor) Philadelphia PA (USA)

Organized by: Political Economy of the World System Section (PEWS) of the American Sociological Association and the Arrighi Center for Global Studies

The workshop continued with the theme of the 44th Annual PEWS conference (2020) and volume (2022)-World Systems Analysis at a Critical Juncture-interrogating the current critical juncture both for the world system and for the world-systems approach. The workshop format was designed so as to provide ample space for discussion and exchange of ideas. Each of the three (75 minute) roundtable sessions began with a set of short presentations on the roundtable theme, leaving 40 minutes for open discussion from the floor.

Workshop Timetable

1-2:15 pm        Roundtable #1:

Hegemonic Transitions, Global Crisis, and World Capitalism in the 21st Century

Chair: Lu Zhang (Temple University); Opening Comments: Yige Dong (Buffalo University), Ravi Palat (Binghamton University), Shaohua Zhan (Nanyang Technological University)

Since the turn of the 21st century, we have witnessed a period of history marked by intertwined global crises and the unravelling of the post-1945 world order. As far back as the 1970s and 1980s, world- systems scholars have argued that a terminal crisis of US world hegemony is inevitable and that we were slowly but steadily moving toward a “post-American World”.  This roundtable exchange will focus on a set of interrelated questions about current world-economic and geopolitical dynamics. As the US-led world order winds down, what comes next? Arguably, at the heart of the matter is the rise of China. Can the reemerging China-centered civilization provide solutions to the problems left behind by US hegemony as Arrighi suggested in Adam Smith in Beijing? What are the nature and prospects for emerging South- South collaboration and its implications for the future of capitalism?  Can the United States (and the  West) accommodate peacefully to a more equal distribution of wealth and power in the world, or will the geopolitical tensions we are witnessing today intensify further? What concepts and theories are available in the world-systems toolkit (broadly understood) to help us assess the nature of the current crisis? What is to be done to avoid a long and deepening period of systemic chaos and a transition to a more peaceful, equitable and just world?

2:15-2:30 pm    Break #1

2:30-3:45 PM: Roundtable #2

Rethinking the Concept of “Globalization” in an Era of Crisis and Systemic Chaos

Chair: Sahan S. Karatasli (University of North Carolina, Greensboro); Opening Comments: Manuela Boatcă (Universität Freiburg), Kevan Harris (University of California Los Angeles), Kristin Plys (University of Toronto),

A forthcoming Elgar Encyclopedia on the Sociology of Globalization is in the early stages of being edited by Ricardo Jacobs, Sahan Karatasli and Beverly J. Silver. The goal of this second roundtable is to discuss ways in which the Encyclopedia can become (among other things) a resource that makes world-systems perspectives central to the broader social scientific debates on globalization. What are the key contributions of world-systems that should be emphasized in the Encyclopedia? To be sure, one is taking a long-term historical perspective in which processes of globalization and deglobalization are understood as integral to the longue durée evolution of historical capitalism. Equally important is seeing this longue durée evolution as an uneven geographical process characterized by inequality in power and wealth on a world-scale; and emphasizing the need to bring to the center of the analysis alternative perspectives from the global South. In sum, what should the Encyclopedia – which will have over 100 short entries – contain so as to highlight insights from the cumulative body of world-systems scholarship as well as to deploy these insights in ways that shed new light on urgent contemporary challenges such as the climate crisis, pandemics, wars, and the rise of authoritarianism and right-wing nationalism.

3:45-4 pm:       Break #2

4-5:15 pm        Roundtable #3:

World-Systems Analysis at a Critical Juncture: Priorities for a “Second PEWS Half-Century?

Chair: Beverly J. Silver (Johns Hopkins University); Opening Comments: Jennifer Bair (University of Virginia), Ricardo Jacobs (University of California, Santa Barbara), Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz (University of Maryland)

The final roundtable will be an opportunity for workshop participants to share descriptions of major projects on which they are currently working as well as to propose research areas that are urgent priorities for world-systems analysts.  We will look to the future, while taking stock of the past as we approach a series of landmarks-50 years since the publication of Wallerstein’s The Modern World System (1974), 30 years since the publication of Arrighi’s The Long Twentieth Century (1994), and (in another four years) 50 years since the establishment of the PEWS section of the American Sociological Association (1978). When the US neoconservatives announced their plan for a “Second American Century” at the turn of the century, world-systems scholars understood that it was a total misread of the historical conjuncture and of the longue durée dynamics of historical capitalism. Deploying the world-systems analysis toolkit for collective self-reflection, what do we have to say about the prospects for a “Second PEWS Half-Century”?

5:15-6 pm        Happy Hour Reception

Workshop email: [email protected]

Link to Live (Updated) Workshop Program