World - System Theory by Immanuel Wallerstein.

World - System Theory by Immanuel Wallerstein. 

My educational philosophy is based upon a perceptual worldview gleaned from living in two different countries, with very different economic histories, Vietnam and The United States. Immanuel Wallerstein (n.d) describes the modern world-system as a “historical system” in which the extant division of labor is perpetuated by those benefiting most from it.  (Wallerstein, n.d, as cited in Robinson, 2011).  

According to Wallerstein (n.d), there are three divisions in the world system: core, periphery, and semi-periphery (as cited in Robinson, 2011). In the core system, countries such as the United States, Western Europe, and Japan are considered hegemonies. While countries of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe are considered as peripheral regions of the world populace. And the last category is China, Brazil. South Africa, etc...which are considered semi-peripheral. Children, in my view, must recognize this tendency to seek control over others that also exists at every level of power beneath that of the nation-state. So that they may do what it takes to free themselves from service to systems that are not designed to serve them.

The nature of this system is based on the assertion that countries in the core category are attempting to hold their relative advantage, even if it came about as the result of violent conquest and subjugation. In other words, people are competing to maintain an elevated position, more so than helping each other to rise. Even though this would make the world wealthier and healthier as a whole. 

The three divisions from above have generated a highly unequal distribution of natural resources, goods, and services. And perhaps, my perception of living in one of the peripheral countries has generated a global point of view based upon the momentum that determines the labor division that, in each category, plays a specific function in the world economy. This notion is, however, demonstrating the imbalance of power and seeking dominance among wealthier countries “to justify capitalist globalization policies” ( Robinson, 2011, p.12).



Robinson, W. (2011, November 2). Globalization and the sociology of Immanuel Wallerstein: A critical appraisal. UC Santa Barbara.

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