Introduction to the Special Issue on World-Systems Analysis and the Anthropocene
Across the social sciences and humanities, and in diverse forms of popular media around the world, discourse about the Anthropocene is proliferating. From the plastic particles found in deep sea trenches to the unfolding of Earth’s sixth mass extinction, among many other indicators—notably anthropogenic climate change—it is clear that human impacts may have irreversibly perturbed the planet. This special issue sets out to deepen and broaden the conversation from a world-systems perspective. Building upon a long tradition of scholarship deploying world-systems theory to understand global environmental change, we wish to explore the past, present, and future of the world-system with/in the Anthropocene. In this introduction we first offer prefatory remarks about the Anthropocene (by no means a universally accepted concept) that are meant to help orient readers to debates around the Anthropocene before turning to a summary of the contributions and the themes that emerge in this Special Issue.
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