What Goes Around Comes Around: From the Coloniality of Power to the Crisis of Civilization


  • Leonardo E. Figueroa Helland Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  • Tim Lindgren Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT, USA




World-System, Hegemony, Civilization, Crisis, Coloniality, Transition


This article combines world-systems, decolonial, eco-feminist and post-human ecological approaches to deconstruct the planetary crisis of the hegemonic civilization. Underpinned by anthropocentric, androcentric, hetero-patriarchal, Euro/Western-centric, modern/colonial and capitalist systems of power, this civilization causes devastating socioecological effects. Globalized through (neo)colonialism/(neo)imperialism, it has subjugated the rural under the urban and the Global South under the North, becoming globally hegemonic. Through the coloniality of power hegemonic conceptions of progress, growth, development and modernity have been spread, procuring the loyalty of semi-peripheral and peripheral regimes into a civilizational obsession with endless accumulation based on the “mastery of nature.” Most “postcolonial” elites, especially across “emerging economies,” have not broken with this coloniality. They often reproduce govern-mentalities aimed at “catching-up” with, cloning, emulating, imitating or conforming to hegemonic models enacted in the North’s metropolitan cores. Overcoming this crisis requires not only a critique of neoliberal capitalist modernity, but a world-systemic transformation towards ecosufficient lifeways based on indigenous, eco-feminist, and post-human alternatives.

Author Biographies

Leonardo E. Figueroa Helland, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Dr. Figueroa-Helland is Chair and Professor of Politics, Justice, and Global Studies at Westminster College (UT). His work focuses on transformational alternatives to global crises based on transdisciplinary research that combines critical global studies, intercultural international relations, indigenous studies, global political ecology, agroecology, decolonial/postcolonial and depatriarchal/gender studies, and world-systems analysis.


Tim Lindgren, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Tim Lindgren is an Honors student and Research Assistant at Westminster College (UT), pursuing a customized major in Global Studies and employed as a Legal Assistant for Environmental Law and Development. You can find his previous publications in The Myriad and Perspectives on Global Development and Technology (PGDT). 


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How to Cite

Figueroa Helland, L. E., & Lindgren, T. (2016). What Goes Around Comes Around: From the Coloniality of Power to the Crisis of Civilization. Journal of World-Systems Research, 22(2), 430–462. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2016.631



Coloniality of Power and Hegemonic Shifts in the World-System