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Edited by Ben Derudder, Michael Hoyler, Peter J. Taylor and Frank Witlox
Chapter 3: Cities in the Making of World Hegemonies
Peter J. Taylor, Michael Hoyler and Dennis Smith INTRODUCTION: WALLERSTEIN’S WORLD HEGEMONIES In Immanuel Wallerstein’s (1979, 2004) world-systems analysis the modern world-system developed in the ‘long sixteenth century’ (c.1450–c.1650) as a European–Atlantic worldeconomy and expanded to become global in scope around 1900. This world-system was different from previous successful historical systems because of the enhanced importance of economic processes. Prior world-empires were political entities, the modern worldsystem developed as a political economy entity: the capitalist world-economy. It was able to achieve and maintain this political economy because of the fragmented nature of modern political structures. Earlier world-systems had a single over-arching political structure (one sovereignty); in the modern world-system there developed a competitive inter-state system (multiple sovereignties). And among the numerous states within the modern world-system, there were a few that were very special; Wallerstein (1984) calls them ‘hegemonic states’. Hegemonies constitute the prime time and space coordinates of the modern worldsystem. They are crucial to the on-going development and survival of the system over the half-millennium of its existence. Wallerstein (1984) identifies just three cases: the Dutch (the United Provinces) in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the British (the United Kingdom) in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the Americans (the United States) in the twentieth century. According to Wallerstein, the economic development dimension of hegemony consists of three stages of increasing economic dominance, first in production, followed by commercial prowess, and culminating in financial command. High hegemony, the peak of economic power, occurs when...
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