Notes on the Method of World-System Biography

Kevan Harris, Brendan McQuade


C. Wright Mills boiled the social sciences down to one sentence: “They are attempts to help us understand biography and history, and the connections between the two in a variety of social structures.” This special issue considers biography as an fruitful entry point into macro-historical sociology. With lineages from Marx and Weber to Wallerstein and Bourdieu, the sociology of the individual can produce a clearer path between the muddy oppositions of structure and agency or the longue durée and the event. This special issue unbinds biography from methodological nationalism and the teleology of great men tales. Instead, we aim to show how individuals are "a world within a world," an acting subject structured within world historical time and place.

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