Principles of Inter-Societal Dynamics

  • Jonathan H. Turner Department of Sociology Social Sciences of Media Studies Bldg. University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9430 USA and Institute for Theoretical Social Science P.O. Box 12 for Suite 21 135 Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Keywords: theory, geo-economics, geo-politics, warfare, empires, rise and collapse


World-system dynamics are re-conceptualized as inter-societal systems with some de-emphasis on the notions of core, periphery, and semi-periphery.  This tri-part division has been useful in forcing sociology to rethink macro-level sociological analysis and in establishing the importance of considering inter-societal systems as a fundamental unit of human social organization, but this Weberian-like ideal type is constraining theoretical analysis. Moreover, core, periphery, and semi-periphery are not consistently found across a broad range of inter-societal systems, beginning with those among hunting and gathering societies and moving to the current capitalist inter-societal system. Furthermore, the often-implied view that the current geo-economic global system has replaced geo-political systems is overdrawn because geo-economics and geo-politics constantly intersect and interact in all inter-societal systems. Some illustrative general models are drawn for geo-political systems, while abstract principles for geo-political and geo-economic inter-societal relations are articulated.  The goal of the paper, then, is to move current world-system analysis back, in a sense, to earlier conceptualizations of geo-economics and geo-politics and empire formations that have always existed among human populations and that now drive the dynamics of the globe today. In this analysis, the seminal work of Christopher Chase-Dunn is referenced as a source of inspiration for this small, but important, shift in analysis and modes of theorizing.



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How to Cite
Turner, J. H. (2017). Principles of Inter-Societal Dynamics. Journal of World-Systems Research, 23(2), 649-677.
Special Feature: Contributions of Christopher Chase-Dunn