Uneven and Combined Development in the Longue Durée: Beyond World-System Analysis?

Eric Mielants

Anievas and Nı̇şancioğlu’s text, How the West Came to Rule, attempts to offer not only an insightful critique of a contemporary consensus within Orthodox Marxist historiography, but also explores the incomplete narratives embedded within postcolonial studies and world-system analysis. In this contribution I argue that they succeed more in the former challenge than in the latter and suggest that a careful analysis of recent world system research is really less Eurocentric than Anievas and Nı̇şancioğlu claim. Extending their analysis into the present would make their theoretical model less divergent from Wallerstein’s approach than they suggest. As they point out, a myopic and biased interpretation of the Rise of the West is not only related to a rigid adherence to obsolete theoretical models, but also to the creation of separate disciplines within the modern university system which tends to (re)produce Eurocentric epistemology about past, present and future conditions.

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