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Unit 1 Discussion Assignment

Unit 1 Discussion Assignment
Globalization involves the interconnecting and mobilizing of people from different
countries through the efforts of companies and governments. Business and trade are
integral parts of globalization. Three theories of globalization exist: World-System
theory, World-Polity theory, and World-Culture theory.
With the various theories for how globalization developed, I would agree with the World
Culture theory. According to Lechner (2001), World Culture theory pertains to a
particular way of understanding the process of globalization that focuses on how
participants come to understand and value the idea of living in the world as a single
Two assumptions are especially vital to the formulation of world culture theory: the
existence of certain commonalities across societies (convergence) and, by implication,
the view that cultural change is primarily determined by consensual processes
World Culture theory places emphasis on needs common to all people and their
environment. This is a strength of world culture theory, as Lechner (2001) noted, for it
encourages the discovery of new social problems, and in a diverse, conflictual, and
decentralized world, it provides common models for thinking and acting.
Now the World System theory is a theory I do not support, because it was developed as
an approach to world history and social change that suggests there is a world economic
system in which some countries benefit while others are exploited. There is no such
thing as an isolated world-system. According to Lechner (2001), World Systems are built
up of interdependent parts that form a complex structure and function according to
specific rules.
The World-System theory has a key factor though, which I think is important to note, as
Lechner (2001) thoroughly explains, the capitalist system has no single political center: it
has thrived because it has been able to flourish within the bounds of not one but a
multitude of political systems, a freedom of maneuver that has allowed for constant
world-system expansion and has given capitalists a structurally-based freedom of
Lechner, F. (2001). Globalization theories. The Globalization
Website. https://web.archive.org/web/20130529201438/http://sociology.emory.ed
What are the operating glasses of World-System theory?
by Innocent Ndock-Kong (Instructor)
You might be interested to get some ideas of how the World-System theory operates when
observing globalization. World-System theory is a kind of structural analysis of economic
globalization from an historical perspective. The cornerstone of World-System theory is
structuralism. Structuralism is an intellectual movement that spread from Europe in the early
1900s (see Dosse, 1991). Structuralism considers that any reality can be reduced to a minimal
structure (or a system). Understanding the structure is sufficient to understand that reality. A
structure is a set of organized units and functions. Units are categories and not individual actors.
Each unit is given to play a specific role. Any actor in the system will necessarily act as a unit. The
function performed by each unit is attributed by the system as a whole. So, if you know the
units, the functions and how they are distributed to units by the system, you already know how
the system works.
In the World-System theory of globalization, there are three Units: the core, the semi-periphery
and the periphery. Every country is part of that system as one of those units. As such, they are
not supposed to act differently because the system forces them to act as only one of the units.
This is also called International Division of Labor (Prebisch, 1949). This way, some countries are
periphery means that their functions are providing row materials, low-skills labor force and buy
products from core and semi-periphery for daily needs. Other countries are semi-periphery. The
system assigns them the role of mitigating power, evidence of system success, leaders of
peripheral claims, but willing to be part of the core. And some other countries behave as the
core which has industrialized societies, decision on the system (through various mechanisms:
money, technology, high-skilled labor force) and main sellers for global consumption
(manufactured and high-value products). According to World-System, globalization is driven by
economic constraints imposed by the system (Amin, 1986).
This is to help you strengthen your understanding of World-System theory. Remember, those
theories will help you further analyze the complexity of globalization in the coming units.
AMIN, S. (1986). La Déconnexion: Pour Sortir du Système Mondial. Paris: Editions La
Dosse, F. (1997). History of Structuralism: the Rising Sign 1945-1966. 1srt ed. In 1991.
Translated by Deborah Glassman. The University of Minesota Press. URL:
Prebisch, R. (1949). El Desarrollo Económico de la América Latina y Algunos de sus
Principales Problemas. Santiago: CEPAL. URL:
Discussion Guidelines
Share your thoughts and ideas on this week’s discussion forum prompts in a
couple of paragraphs.
Respond to at least 3 peers. Your post to each peer must be relevant to the
week’s topic and should be more than a simple statement of agreement.
Be kind, respectful, and resourceful on this forum. Speak with kindness, give your
fellow classmates respect, and be resourceful to them by provided additional
information about your topic, to ensure the conversation is ongoing.
Please return throughout the week to continue to participate and respond to
anyone who has responded to you.
Be sure to cite any resources that you use in APA format. Direct quotes should
not be used in discussions.