Manuela Boatca, Andrea Komlosy, Hans-Heinrich Nolte (Hg.)

During its 500 year history, the modern world system has seen several shifts in hegemony. Since the decline of the United States in the 1970s, however, no single core power has attained a hegemonic position, such that the 21st century world system, while not dominated by one hegemon, has continued to move toward increasing polarization. As income inequalities have become more pronounced in core countries, especially the former hegemons, the United States and the UK,  global inequalities emerged as a “new” topic of social scientific scholarship, ignoring to a certain degree the constant move toward polarization that has been characteristic of the entire modern world system. At the same time, the rise of new states (most notably, the BRICS) and the relative economic growth of particular regions (especially East Asia) have prompted speculations about the next hegemon that largely disregard both the longue durée of hegemonic shifts and the constraints that regional differentiations place on the concentration of capital and geopolitical power in one location.

Special Issue: Journal of World-Systems Research 22, 2 (2016)
ISSN: 1076-156X