Contemporary Intra-Core Relations and World Systems Theory


  • Peter Gowan London Metropolitan University



This paper focuses upon one small region of World-Systems Theory (wst) but one that is important for analysis of the contemporary world: the dynamics of intra-core relations.I will try to address three questions: 1. Does the wst theory of the historically cyclical patterns of intra-core relations provide us with a persuasive framework for understanding contemporary core dynamics? 2. More specifically can the reach and depth of the power of the United States within the contemporary core be captured by wst?s theory of capitalist hegemons and their rise and decline? 3. Is wst?s insistence that its concept of core-wide world empires cannot be established in the modern world system valid? In addressing these issues, I will begin by outlining the general approach of wst to the analysis of intra-core relations, focusing in particular upon wst?s concept of core hegemons and their rise and fall. I will then look at the arguments of wst as to why a capitalist world empire is impossible. I will then go on to examine how we might conceive of the victory of a World-Empire. And I will then turn to examine the contending situation and the character of the power of the US today.




How to Cite

Gowan, P. (2004). Contemporary Intra-Core Relations and World Systems Theory. Journal of World-Systems Research, 10(2), 471–500.



JWSR MINI-SYMPOSIUM: Peter Gowan & The “Capitalist World-Empire”