Onward To Liberation!—Samir Amin and the Study of World Historical Capitalism

  • Salimah Valiani Independent Researcher
Keywords: World-Systems Theory, World Historical Political Economy, Decolonizing the Social Sciences


This article presents theoretical and methodological insights of world-systems analysis via the works of Samir Amin and his major interlocuteurs. It is argued that Samir Amin was central to sparking the study of world historical analysis, and offered unique contributions to the discussions that emerged. It is demonstrated that this is due to Samir Amin’s ability to balance structure, specificity, and historical contingency, as well as his enduring commitment to human liberation.

Author Biography

Salimah Valiani, Independent Researcher

Salimah Valiani is an independent researcher of world historical political economy. She is the author of the research monograph, Rethinking Unequal Exchange—The Global Integration of Nursing Labour Markets (2012), and authors’ editor of The Future of Mining in South Africa: Sunset or Sunrise? (Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection: 2018).


Abu-Lughod, Janet. 1991. Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350. New York: Oxford University Press.

Amin, Samir. 1955. L’utilization des revenus susceptibles d’épargne en Egypte de 1939 à 1953. Paris: Institut de Statistiques de l'Université de Paris.

______. 1965. Trois expériences africaines de développement: le Mali, la Guinée et le Ghana. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

______. 1970. L’accumulation à l’échelle mondiale. Dakar: Ifan.

______. 1971. l’Afrique de l’ouest bloquée. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit.

______. 1973a. Le développement inégal. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit.

______. 1973b. Neo-Colonialism in West Africa. New York: Monthly Review Press.

______. 1974. Accumulation on a World Scale: A Critique of the Theory of Underdevelopment. New York: Monthly Review Press.

______. 1976. Unequal Development. New York: Monthly Review Press.

______. 1989. Eurocentrism. New York: Monthly Review Press.

______. 1991. “The Ancient World-Systems versus the Modern Capitalist World-System.”

Review (Fernand Braudel Center) 14(3): 349-385.

______. 2005. “A Note on the Death of André Gunder Frank (1929-2005).” Monthly Review, May 21. Retrieved January 27 2021 (https://monthlyreview.org/commentary/a-note-on-the-death-of-andre-gunder-frank-1929-2005/)

______. 2012. “Foreword.” Pp. xi-xvi in Rethinking Unequal Exchange: The Global Integration of Nursing Labour Markets by Valiani, Salimah. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

______. 2016. “The Concept of a National Sovereign Project of Development in the Perspective of a Negotiated Globalization.” Retrieved August 5 2012 (https://www.facebook.com/notes/samir-amin/111-s-a-the-concept-of-a-national-sovereign-project/797165230384072)

______. 2019. “The New Imperialist Structure.” Monthly Review 71(3): 32-45.

Arrighi, Giovanni. 1968. The Political Economy of Rhodesia. New York: Humanities Press.

______. 1994. The Long Twentieth Century. London: Verso.

Braudel, Fernand. 1980. On History. Chicago: University of Chicago.

______. 1982. The Wheels of Commerce. New York: Harper and Row.

Brenner, Robert. 1976. “Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial

Europe.” Past & Present 70 (Feb): 30-75.

Campbell, Horace. 2011. “A Tribute to a Fighter Against Global Capitalism.” Retrieved October 7, 2019 (https://www.pambazuka.org/global-south/tribute-fighter-against-global-capitalism)

de Sousa Santos, Boaventura. 1992. “A Discourse on the Sciences.” Review (Fernand Braudel

Center)15(1): 9-47.

______. 2019. “Toward Alternative Epistemologies and Pedagogies: Conversations with Professor Boaventura de Sousa Santos.” Public Lecture, October 2, Johannesburg.

Emmanuel, Arghiri. 1970. “La question de l’échange inégal.” L’homme et la société 18: 35-59.

Foz, Vicente B., ed. 2000. The Labor Code of the Philippines and its Implementing Rules and

Regulations. Manila: Philippine Law Gazette.

Gilpin, Robert. 1987. The Political Economy of International Relations. Princeton: Princeton

University Press.

Gunder Frank, André. 1966. “The Development of Underdevelopment.” Monthly Review 18(4): 17-30.

Harnecker, Marta. 2019. “A New Revolutionary Subject: Marta Harnecker interviewed by Tassos Tsakiroglou.” Monthly Review 71(5): 58-62.

Manoilesco, Mihail. 1929. Théorie de protectionnisme et de l’échange international. Paris: Marcel

Girard éditeur.

Marques, Leonardo and T. Parron. 2019. “Relational History: An Interview with Dale Tomich.” Tempo, 25(3). Retrieved January 27 2021 (https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1413-77042019000300764#B2)

Polanyi, Karl. 1944. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of our Time. New York: Ferrar and Rinehart.

Quijano, Anibal. 1971. Nationalism and Capitalism in Peru: a Study in Neo-Imperialism. New York: Monthly Review.

Quijano, Anibal. 2000. “Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism, and Latin America.” Nepantla: Views from the South 1(3): 1-48.

Quijano, Anibal and I. Wallerstein. 1992. “Americanity as a Concept, or the Americans in the

Modern World-System.” International Social Science Journal 44: 549-557.

Valiani, Salimah. 2012. Rethinking Unequal Exchange: The Global Integration of Nursing Labour Markets. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1974. The Modern World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origin of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press.

______. 1996. Open the Social Sciences. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Warren, Bill. 1980. Imperialism: Pioneer of Capitalism. London: Verso.

How to Cite
Valiani, S. (2021). Onward To Liberation!—Samir Amin and the Study of World Historical Capitalism. Journal of World-Systems Research, 27(2), 566-585. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2021.1014
Research Articles