A Combined Argument: Beyond Wallerstein?

in Historical Materialism
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Abstract

In How the West Came to Rule, Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nişancıoğlu offer an alternative to both Political Marxism and world-systems analysis (WSA) by going beyond the nation-state as the unit of analysis in the former and the marginalisation of articulation and combination between modes of production in the latter. Their account also gives more room to non-European actors neglected in other interpretations of the rise of the West. However, I argue that their argument is much closer to WSA and that their critique of Wallerstein regarding Eurocentrism, the origins of capitalism and the role of wage labour in the capitalist world-system is problematic. Furthermore, Anievas and Nişancıoğlu do not offer a sufficiently rigorous definition of combination, leading to an overextension of the concept.

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