world systemcompared with manual workers, even where their market situation is no better or may even be worse. See MULTIDIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL STRATIFICATION, CLASS, STATUS AND PARTY, AFFLUENT WORKER, CLASS IMAGERY.
world systema conception of the modern social world which views it as comprising one interlinked entity with an international division of labour unregulated by any one political structure. The perspective was developed by WALLERSTEIN and has given rise to a large body of work, especially in the US. The key concepts are that the capitalist world is divided into CENTRE AND PERIPHERY and semi-periphery, with Northern Europe since the 16th-century and later the US, dominating world trade. The centre countries were those that developed strong nation states and a proletarianized free labour force. The peripheral countries, comprising most of the THIRD WORLD, had various forms of unfree labour, contemporarily low levels of proletarianization, with household organization of production and weak nation states. This provides a view of structure and change which challenges both conventional MARXIST and MODERNIZATION approaches and has affinities with DEPENDENCY THEORY. See Fig. 35. See also UNDERDEVELOPMENT, GLOBALIZATION.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000