chapter  14
Individuals and families
Pages 30

World-systems foundational thinkers emphasized the centrality of sexism, women’s work, and households to modern capitalism. Soon after the publication of Wallerstein’s (1974) groundbreaking book that signaled the emergence of this new paradigm, the Fernand Braudel Center at Binghamton University structured ongoing research teams (Research Working Group 1978) that emphasized women’s unpaid labor as a subsidy to capitalism. Under the tutelage of Immanuel Wallerstein (1981, 1998) and Terence Hopkins (1985; Hopkins and Wallerstein 1982), a team of faculty and graduate students conceptualized the household as the smallest organizational unit of the modern world-system (Wallerstein and Martin 1979). Their theoretical formulations integrated ground-breaking ideas about unpaid household labor that were formulated by radical feminists at Germany’s University of Bielefeld (von Verhlof 1985), as well as emerging work about the informal sector (Portes 1983). This early conceptual work was published in issues of the Braudel Center journal (Review 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, now available through JSTOR library database), in Wallerstein (1983), and in Smith et al (1984, 1992). While my own accumulated work is informed by this foundational work, I have revised and extended it in several ways.