chapter  16
14 Pages

Hegemonic Conditions Without a Hegemon

Although our analyses are guided by a world system perspective which is

evident from the central mechanism o f competition between social

arrangements in the world political economy, this book addresses only one

specific societal type, i.e., Western society at the core. To reflect the future o f

hegemonic rivalry in this chapter some introductory reflections on the

changes and discontinuities o f the 1980s and early 1990s in the system

wherein Western society is on top are appropriate. During the 1980s, history

accelerated enormously. As a result, world society has, in various ways,

changed substantially. What had seemed stable and accountable for decades

underwent remarkable transformations so that it is appropriate to speak o f the

end o f the postwar era (Bomschier and Lengyel 1992). At the core o f the

world system, the whole decade was characterized by technological thrusts

and political transitions. Against the background o f the relative economic

decline o f the United States, the hegemonic power o f the postwar era, the

further economic rise o f Japan was remarkable, but also Western Europe’ s

integrational thrust came quite unexpectedly after long years o f “ Euro­

sclerosis” .