ABSTRACT

One of the most under-theorized questions in world-system analysis is the relationship between "world-systems" and "civilizations". After 40 years of world-system analysis, "civilization" remains an underdeveloped concept. It has been used in a problematic way by Eurocentric thinkers to justify imperialism and to defend racial hierarchies along culturalist "civilizational" lines. This chapter expresses that it is unfortunate that world-system analysis has not paid sufficient attention to the concept of civilization. It also expresses that the problem with this definition is that it reduces civilizations to economic systems, which downplays other structural dimensions of civilizations such as forms of political authority, epistemic structures of knowledge, religious hierarchies, gender/sexual social relations, and so on. Those who study globalization often continue to do so from a particular vantage point thereby privileging a specific part of reality and in the process obscuring other facets which are equally important as they are mutually constitutive building blocks of a capitalist civilization.