An Introduction to the World-System Perspective


Thomas R Shannon

Second Edition • February 16, 1996 • 272 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813324524 • $47.00 USD$49.99 CAN

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In this second edition, Thomas Shannon extends his overall assessment of the world-system perspective to include the new theoretical and empirical developments in the field since 1989. Incorporating most leading arguments of world-system theorists, he addresses the fall of the Eastern Bloc as well as such current topics as relations with indigenous peoples, cultural analysis, methodology, women, and race. He discusses world-system analysis as a flexible and changing paradigm and considers future directions in the field.

This advanced undergraduate and graduate-level text is the only book that provides an introduction to the world-system approach to the study of modern social change. Tracing the general antecedents of world-system theory and describing its major tenets, Shannon focuses on the basic characteristics and components of the world-system and the economic and political relationships within it. He characterizes changes within the system, including social and economic trends, cycles of great power leadership, and events and policies by which states rise or fall in importance.


Thomas R. Shannon is professor of sociology at Radford University and the author of Urban Problems in Sociological Perspective and American Social Structure.

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