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The rise and decline of great powers remains a fascinating topic of vigorous debate. This book brings together leading scholars to explore the historical evolution of world systems through examining the ebb and flow of great powers over time, with particular emphasis on early time periods. The book advances understanding of the regularities in the dynamics of empire and the expansion of political, social and economic interaction networks, from the Bronze Age forward. The authors analyze the expansion and contraction of cross-cultural trade networks and systems of competing and allying political groupings. In premodern times, theses ranged from small local trading networks (even the very small ones of hunting-gathering peoples) to the vast Mongol world-system. Within such systems, there is usually one, or a very few, hegemonic powers. How they achieve dominance and how transitions lead to systems change are important topics, particularly at a time when the United States' position is in flux. The chapters in this book review several recent approaches and present a wealth of new findings.
About the Author
ALEXIS ALVAREZ Institute for Research on World-Systems, University of California-Riverside, USA
EUGENE N. ANDERSON Anthropology, University of California, Riverside, USA
STEPHEN BUNKER Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
CHRISTOPHER CHASE-DUNN Sociology and Director, Institute for Research on World-Systems, University of California, Riverside, USA
PAUL CICCANTELL Sociology, Western Michigan University, USA
SING CHEW Sociology, Humboldt State University, California, USA
HO-FUNG HUNG Sociology, Johns Hopkins University, USA
ERIC MIELANTS Sociology, University of Utah, USA
DANIEL PASCIUTI Institute for Research on World-Systems, University of California-Riverside, USA
WILLIAM THOMPSON Political Science, Indiana University, USA
Table of ContentsIntroduction; E.N.Anderson & C.Chase-Dunn C-Wave Crises and Early Classical Era Trade Reorientation; W.Thompson From Harappa to Mesopotamia and Egypt to Mycenae: Dark Ages, Hegemonial Shifts and Environmental/Climatic Changes 2200 B.C. - 700 B.C.; S.Chew Power is in the Details: Administrative Technology and the Growth of Ancient Near Eastern Cores; M.Allen Power and Size: Urbanization and Empire Formation in World-Systems; C.Chase-Dunn , A.Alvarez & D.Pasciuti Lamb, Rice and Mongol Hegemonic Decline; E.N.Anderson The Origins of European Hegemony: The Political Economy of South Asia and Europe Compared (c.1200A.D.-1500); E.Mielants Contentious Peasants, Pateralist State and Arrested Capitalism in Chinas Long Eighteenth Century; H.F.Hung Matter, Space and Technology in Past and Future Hegemonies; S.Bunker & P.Ciccantell
"Professors Chase-Dunn and Anderson have put together a most valuable collection, showing current developments in research on large-scale political economies. The book is wide-ranging, covering cycles of Eurasian political-economic change and dominance over several millennia. And it lives up to its mission, which is to advance and extend research and theory examining historical development on a scale transcending traditional foci on single polities or societies in isolation. The work will of course be of great interest to historical and comparative scholars concerned with the established issues of world-systems thinking. But it also engages all sorts of researchers in the broad area of globalization. And substantively, the specific studies carry large-scale political-economic analyses far back into world history, greatly broadening conceptions of that history. Overall, the work shows how much has been accomplished in recent decades. As well, it opens up fascinating new research issues and foci."
--John W. Meyer, Professor of Sociology (emeritus), Stanford University
"The essays in this book offer a rich survey of different aspects of world-systems theory, demonstrating that it is currently the most disciplined, vibrant and fruitful way of studying relations between different parts of the world over the last five or six millennia. The book offers the best possible introduction to world-systems thinking and suggests why world-system theories are so important to scholarship in world history."--David Christian, San Diego State University
"This sweeping volume examines the rise and decline of cities, empires, and world-systems from the Bronze Age to theModern Age. Bursting with fresh approaches to global trade, elites and state administrations, these essays are must-read material for scholars and students of global history."
----Jack A. Goldstone, Hazel Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University