INVIGORATING WORLD SYSTEM THEORY as CRITICAL THEORY: Exploring Philosophical Foundations and Postpositivist Contributions
AbstractWorld system theory comprises two distinct lines of inquiry: macro-social studies of historical world-systems and ideological critique. World system theorists often shun ideological critique, but for two reasons I argue it must be foremost. First, without explicit attention to its philosophical foundations, world system theory rests upon several unexamined, uncomplementary, liberal premises. These premises pose conceptual puzzles. World system theorists frequently cast such puzzles as methodological, empirical, or theoretical problems, rather than as symptoms of ideological confusions requiring critique. Second, through explicit critique, theorists may transform implicit philosophical foundations into explicit ontological and epistemological groundings. Such groundings will enable world system theorists to better realize their critical, emancipatory goals and to resolve theoretical puzzles. One such puzzle -- the conceptual distinction between politics and economics -- recurs often, arising in the debates on the relation(s) between the state system and capitalism and thwarting efforts to demonstrate the unity of the world system. I suggest that world system theorists engage in explicit ideological critique to lay equally explicit ideologicalfoundations for their histories. I suggest a critical, conceptually historicist, "constructivist" approach that builds upon postpositivist critiques and introduces constitutive principles. I illustrate the virtue of this approach by demonstrating the unity of the modern world system.
How to Cite
Burch, K. (1995). INVIGORATING WORLD SYSTEM THEORY as CRITICAL THEORY: Exploring Philosophical Foundations and Postpositivist Contributions. Journal of World-Systems Research, 1(1), 243–294. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.1995.47
Hegemonic Rivalry: Past and Future
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.