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George Modelski

Dark ages is a familiar, if untheorized, term of world history. We propose to generalize that concept, and to reinterpret it as "ages of reorganization." We do this by viewing the two major periods of past dark ages as phases of world community formation—this being one of a cascade of processes that make up world system evolution. This reconceptualization allows us to see contemporary developments as the onset of another millennial age of readjustment, understood also as a world system mechanism of self-organization. It is a means whereby the threatening features of earlier developments—those of the preceding ages of concentration—are reined in automatically, as it were, to contain the dangers that they might harbor. We propose to take up these themes, recently opened up by Sing Chew in two recent papers (2002a, 2000b), and will review the following questions in response (in the light of the recently consolidated "World Cities" database): (1) How robust is the concept of dark ages? (2) Have dark ages been features of world system history? (3) Are there grounds to assume the workings of an evolutionary process? (4) Have we already entered upon the modern age of reorganization?

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Glen David Kuecker and Thomas D. Hall

In this essay we explore how humans might face systemic collapse and/or entry into a dark age through forms of community resilience. We also note that nature, types of communities, and degrees of resilience differ in core, peripheral, and semiperipheral areas of the contemporary world-system. Core or global north or first world communities have all but disintegrated due to neoliberal policies. However, communities in peripheral and semiperipheral areas are more emergent, and more resilient. These areas are most likely to have or to creatively develop strategies to overcome global collapse. We further argue that social scientists need to develop new definitions of community that go beyond contemporary conceptualizations.

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Ruth Mostern

of empire and ecology. 1 The Spatial Organization of Water and Empire in North China Ecologist Alf Hornborg, writing from a world-systems perspective, has recommended framing environmental history as a matter of spatial distribution of power relations

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International Biopolitics

Foucault, Globalisation and Imperialism

M.G.E. Kelly

In this article, I present a new Foucauldian reading of the international, via Foucault's concept of 'biopolitics'. I begin by surveying the existing Foucauldian perspectives on the international, which mostly take as their point of departure Foucault's concept of 'governmentality', and mostly diagnose a 'global governmentality' or 'global biopolitics' in the current era of globalisation. Against these majority positions, I argue that analysis of the contemporary international through the lens of Foucauldian biopolitics in fact shows us that our world system is marked by a parasitic imperialism of rich sovereign states over poor ones, carried on at the level of populations.

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Michael A. Di Giovine

The Early Modern era was an age of exploration and discovery: travelers dis covered foreign lands as well as themselves. In addition to being filled with titillating tales of the baroque and the bizarre, the narratives they produced also serve as keys to understanding the birth of the modern world system by representing and motivating European imperialism and proto-nationalism—often through the ways in which the individual writer fashions himself in relation to the Others he encounters. Travel Narratives from the Age of Discovery: An Anthology, edited by Peter C. Mancall, and Nathalie Hester's Literature and Identity in Italian Baroque Travel Writing, provide detailed looks into the age of exploration, modern travel writing, and its effects on the explorer's identity claims.

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Mondialisation et cultures locales

De la MIFERMA à la SNIM – L'exemple d'une société minière saharienne (Mauritanie)

Pierre Bonte

This article revisits, after a period of thirty years, the materials of two field researches that relate to an iron-mining company in the north of Mauritania. The MIFERMA, which had inherited the colonial past, meanwhile has become the SNIM, a nationalised company, employing exclusively Mauritanian workers. The ‘mauritanisation’ of the employees is the object of the analysis. This process has social and political features, underlying the demands of the local workers, but also symbolic and identity aspects that are of anthropological interest with regard to globalisation. The culture of the sacs à dos evident in the company underlines solidarities that are close to those of tribal society, illustrating a local adaptation of modernity in the world system. The anthropologist’s memory is here crossing the workers’ memory.

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Mariya Ivancheva

This article discusses paradoxes in the emergent global field of higher education as reflected in an alternative model of the university – the Bolivarian University of Venezuela (UBV) and the related higher education policy, Misión Sucre. With its credo in the applied social sciences, its commitment to popular pedagogy and its dependence on extensive fieldwork with communities, UBV offers an alternative model of science and research at the service of society. Drawing on my ongoing research on this university (since 2008), I present the difficulties which the homogenising standards of a global field of higher education pose to a rapidly developing mass public university in a semiperipheral country. I focus on the difficulty of developing evaluation procedures for UBV as this exposes contradictions which are both unique to this new university model and common for a world system of higher education.

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Richard York, Christina Ergas, Eugene A. Rosa, and Thomas Dietz

We examine trends since 1980 in material extraction in China, India, Indonesia, and Japan—which together contain over 40% of the world's population—to assess the environmental consequences of modernization. Economic and population growth has driven rapid expansion of material extraction in China, India, and Indonesia since 1980. China and India exhibit patterns consistent with the Jevons paradox, where the economic intensity of extraction (extraction/GDP) has steadily declined while total extraction grew. In Indonesia, extraction intensity grew along with total extraction. In Japan, total extraction remained roughly constant, increasing somewhat in the 1980s and then slowly declining after 1990, while extraction intensity declined throughout the entire period. These different patterns can be understood to some degree by drawing on political-economic and world-systems perspectives. Japan is an affluent, core nation that can afford to import materials from other nations, thereby avoiding escalation of material extraction within its borders. China and India are rapidly industrializing nations that, although increasingly drawing on resources from beyond their borders, still rely on their own natural resources for growth. Indonesia, an extraction economy with less global power than the other nations examined here, exports its own natural resources, often unprocessed, to spur economic growth. The trends highlighted here suggest that in order to avert environmental crisis, alternative forms of development, which do not involve traditional economic growth, may need to be adopted by nations around the world.

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George Holmes, Joel Wainwright, Jason Yaeger, Eric D. Carter, Kelley L. Denham, K. Jill Fleuriet, Kathleen Gillogly, Shannon Stunden Bower, Joel Hartter, Catherine Fennell, and Andrew Oberle

Dowie, Mark, Conservation Refugees: The Hundred-Year Conflict between Global Conservation and Native Peoples

Escobar , Arturo, Territories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life, Redes

Fagan , Brian, The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

Hornborg , Alf, J. R. McNeill, and Joan Martinez-Alier, eds., Rethinking Environmental History: World-System History and Global Environmental Change

Jones, Eric C., and Arthur D. Murphy , eds., The Political Economy of Hazards and Disasters

Langston, Nancy, Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors and the Legacy of DES

Li, Tania Murray, The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics

Radkau, Joachim, Nature and Power: A Global History of the Environment

Robbins , Paul, Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are

Sheridan , Michael, and Celia Nyamweru, eds., African Sacred Groves: Ecological Dynamics & Social Change

Walker, Richard, The Country in the City: The Greening of the San Francisco Bay Area

Wrangham , Richard, and Elizabeth Ross, eds., Science and Conservation in African Forests: The Benefits of Long-Term Research

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Global Dissonances—Bringing Class and Culture Back In

Allen Chun

The essays presented here stem for the most part from the conference New Cultural Formations in an Era of Transnational Globalization, held on October 6-7, 2001 at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. Globalization is a phenomenon maybe as old as human history (especially if one reads Eric Wolf’s “History” religiously); if not, it is certainly synonymous with the rise of capitalism itself, exemplified by “the modern world system,” a term made famous by Immanuel Wallerstein. Yet, judging from the recent flurry of social scientific writing and academic debate on the topic, it might appear that globalization is a new phenomenon, rather than in the literature,3 just a misunderstood one. Whether globalization has just accelerated in recent years, as though as the result of increased time-space compression in David Harvey’s terms, or has mutated into a new form is a worthy topic of debate that has generated heated discussion.4 But in this regard, I think that there is currency for viewing contemporary globalization more constructively as a process of transnationalism. Thus, one is without doubt dealing here with a new or different kind of phenomenon, regardless of whether one regards it literally as a transcendent phenomenon predicated on nation-stateism or as a function of underlying systemic processes that have prompted coalescence of nations toward increased global integration or transparent fluidity. Time-space compression may have blurred our ability to capture the rapid nature of changes that have taken place globally, but this should not blind us from seeing that transnationalism is, in the first instance, less a continuation of an older globalization than a fundamental change in its systemic practices.