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studied by world-systems scholars and those influenced

by them are processes of incorporation,

whereby new locales became integrated into the

world-system, and commodity chains, a concept

used to analyze the production and distribution

of rewards from commodity production on a

world scale, be it the movement of coffee from

the Third World to its consumption in the core

or the role of raw cotton in the formation of the

English textile industry. Crucial here is the analysis

of different productive regions, state structures,

and social classes in a global perspective.

World-systems analysis spawned an enormous

literature and has been drawn upon by people

using different theoretical perspectives. Among

world-systems scholars there has been a proliferation

of views. Giovanni Arrighi – also a leading

figure in development theory – is one scholar in

particular who stands out. In a landmark book,

The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the

Origins of Our Times (1994), Arrighi offered what

many believe to be the most significant study of

the longue dure´e of world capitalism to date.

Borrowing from Braudel’s Civilization and Capitalism

(1984), Arrighi argued that capitalism

unfolded through a succession of what he called

systemic cycles of accumulation (SCAs), wherein

governmental and business organizations promoted

material and trade expansions of the

world-economy until their limits were reached,

at which point capitalists shifted their investments

into finance. The obverse side of this expansion

of financial activity was the reciprocal

stimulus of military industrialization and high

finance as part of the larger restructuring of the

world-system that accompanies autumns of SCAs

and the hegemonic structures of which they are a

part. These transitions were accompanied by organizational

revolution in the strategies and

structures of accumulation and the reconstitution

of the global system on new and enlarged social


Unlike Wallerstein, but like Braudel, Arrighi

locates the origins of capitalism not in the territorial

states of Europe, but instead in the Italian

city-states of the fourteenth century. He traces the

early alliance of Genoese capital and Spanish

power that produced the great discoveries, before

going on to analyze the Dutch, British, and United

States hegemonies and related SCAs. In earlier

works, Arrighi analyzed the way in which the

world labor movement was split as part of the

polarization of the world-economy into peripheral

and core locales in the late nineteenth and early

twentieth centuries. In his later work, Arrighi

shows that the present-day resurgence of financial

capital, the troubles of United States hegemony,

and the rise of a new regional economic powerhouse

in East Asia are more cyclical recurrence

than purely novel developments, though the question

of the future is left open.

A host of other world-system scholars have produced

compelling scholarship in a wide variety of

areas, such as Charles Bergquist’s Labor in Latin

America: Comparative Essays on Chile, Argentina, Venezuela

and Columbia (1986), to name but one

example. Bruce Cumings and a host of other

world-system scholars have written some of the

best work on United States foreign policy and

world-systems analysis world-systems analysis


development in East Asia. The contribution of

world-systems analysts and their sympathizers to

the literature on development and related issues

is by now vast and includes work ranging from

that of Dennis O’Hearn on Ireland to Paul Farmer

on Haiti and global public health, Bernard Magubane

on South Africa, Beverly Silver on global

labor movements, Maria Mies on patriarchy, accumulation,

and women, Antonio Benitez-Rojo on

the Caribbean, and Walter Mignolo on Latin America.

Christopher Chase-Dunn, another leading

figure in the field, developed a much more structural

Marxist version of world-systems analysis,

collaborated with Tom Hall on historical studies

of different world-systems, and recently has set

up a new Institute for Research on World-Systems

at the University of California, Riverside. As for

Wallerstein, he has published recent work on

topics as diverse as the structures of knowledge,

anti-systemic movements, and racism, sexism,

and culture in the ideological structure of the


World-systems analysis has been greeted with

celebration and criticism over the years, from

both left and right. Theorists from the bringingthe-

state-back-in school of comparative historical

sociology and others, including Anthony Giddens,

Michael Mann, Charles Tilly, Theda Skocpol, and

Aristide Zolberg, have criticized world-systems’

alleged economic reductionism and a neglect of

the role of state violence and geopolitics, along

with a failure to incorporate theoretically the

importance of the latter into the perspective.

Others, notably Robert Brenner and Maurice Zeitlin,

have attacked the supposed lack of attention

to class forces and relations, as well as what is

perceived to be a focus on circulation rather than


World-systems proponents have responded to

these critiques in various ways. Some have devoted

more attention to military–geopolitical processes,

yet in ways that retain the focus on the

relationship with processes of capital accumulation.

Others have pointed out the great nuance

and detail about state structure and class relations

in the work of Wallerstein, while admitting

the lack of integration of these details at times

within the overall framework of analysis. In many

ways, the focus of world-systems on the global

system anticipated much of the globalization literature.

The perspective has expanded its frontiers,

akin to the world-systemic processes it studies.

Among the challenges facing the perspective in

the twenty-first century will be to deal with some

of the areas of relative neglect or weaknesses in its

core analytical foundations, while building on its

strengths by continuing to innovate, as it seeks to

understand the world and contribute to its transformation

in a more egalitarian, democratic, and

peaceful direction as well. THOMAS R E I FER

Wrong, Dennis Hume (1923– )

Editor of Social Research (1962–4) and Contemporary

Sociology (1972–4) and Professor of Sociology at

New York University, Wrong published influential

studies of demography in Population and Society

(1961) and Class Fertility Trends in Western Nations

(1980), but he is best known for Power: Its Forms,

Bases and Uses (1988). Wrong was critical of sociology

insofar as it had neglected Sigmund Freud,

thereby accepting what Wrong called the oversocialized

concept of man – the title of a famous

article in 1961 in the American Sociological Review.

His other publications include Skeptical Sociology

(1977) and The Problem of Order (1994). In his essays

on The Modern Condition (1998), he describes himself

as a “full-fledged New York intellectual,” serving

at times on the editorial boards of Dissent and

Partisan Review. BRYAN S. TURNER

Wuthnow, Robert (1946– )

Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor of Sociology and

Director of the Center for the Study of American

Religion at Princeton University, Wuthnow has

undertaken research on American religion in The

Restructuring of American Religion (1988) and God and

Mammon in America (1994), and cultural analysis in

Meaning and Moral Order: Explorations in Cultural

Analysis (1987). His current research interests are

concerned with the moral meanings of the American

Dream and with the moral basis of society in

Acts of Compassion: Caring for Others and Helping Ourselves

(1991) and Sharing the Journey: Support Groups

and America’s New Quest for Community (1994); and

the place of spirituality in contemporary American

society in After Heaven: Spirituality in America

Since the 1950s (1998). His most recent publication

is Loose Connections: Joining Together in America’s Fragmented

Communities (1998). He edited the Encyclopedia

of Politics and Religion (1998). His work has

consequently contributed to the importance of

the study of culture in sociological theory.


world-systems analysis Wuthnow, Robert (1946– )



Young, Michael (Lord Young of

Dartington) (1915–2002)

British sociologist, political activist, policy advocate

in fields of health, poverty and education, also

involved in founding the Consumers Association,

the Open University, and other distance learning

initiatives, Young set up the Institute of Community

Studies, in 1952, from which he conducted

most of his sociological work and policy research.

One of its early publications was the influential

book Family and Kinship in East London, written

with Peter Willmott, published in 1957, an

ethnographic study based on observation of, and

interviews with, members of the working-class

community of Bethnal Green. An early contribution

to the genre of community studies in Britain,

it subsequently provided a yardstick of traditional

urban working-class life. Its sequel was a study of

the ways of life of former residents who relocated

to the suburbs (Family and Class in a London Suburb,

1960). Again with Willmott, he published also the

much-quoted The Symmetrical Family: A Study of

Work and Leisure in the London Region (1975). His

satirical essay The Rise of the Meritocracy (1958)

brought him greatest publicity for its social analysis

in favor of equal opportunities in education.

During the 1980s, besides more policy reports and

public campaigning, he published work on understandings

of time, including The Metronomic Society:

Natural Rhythms and Human Timetables (1988).

Young was a prime example of a sociologist

oriented to the project of improving social conditions

who also engaged in political activism and

organizational innovation. ALAN WARDE


At a general level, youth refers to a transitional

period in the lifecycle between childhood and

adulthood. The social definition of youth in anthropology

and sociology developed against an

explanation of physiological changes and maturation

in young people’s bodies as simply determined

by nature or biology. While recognizing

the interplay between biological and social dimensions,

sociologists stress that the category of youth

is complexly shaped within institutional settings

by sociocultural, economic, and political factors.

Hence, the term youth has a diverse range of

meanings, both historically within a society and

across different societies. The social definition of

youth as an important stratified group experiencing

shared processes of socialization developed

within the specific conditions of urban industrial


In the period after World War II, these conditions

within western societies included increasing

wealth across the population and the accompanying

rise in disposable income, increasing numbers

staying on in education, and the development of

ever-expanding consumer markets. Youth as a distinct

age group came to be variously represented

as: a social problem, teenage rebellion, male delinquency,

and a barometer of social change. More

recently, within conditions of late modernity,

youth and youthfulness as increasingly mobile

categories emerged as defining features of consumer-

based identities for increasing numbers of

people across age cohorts in the lifecycle. With

youth and popular culture becoming disconnected,

social behavior and cultural practices of consumption

once exclusively associated with teenagers are

displayed by people in their twenties and thirties,

alongside active lifestyles among retired people.

The idea of youth culture suggests that young

people organizing themselves within peer-groups

have a distinct way of life from that of their

parents. It is suggested that the development of

their own values, use of language, and distinctive

leisure activities involving dress codes and musical

styles result in an age-specific social identity.

At a more popular level, a moral panic is created

with talk of a war between generations. Earlier

sociological explanations debated the notion of

the emergence of youth culture as a means of

resolving problems in the parent culture or the

wider society. Functionalists, as consensus theorists,

stressed the integrative function of agespecific

groups in contributing to the maintenance

of the wider social system. In contrast, Marxists,

as conflict theorists, challenging the unitary


notion of a youth culture, emphasized the need to

place youth subcultures within the class-based

social relations of capitalist society, with its

underlying economic conflict of interests. So, for

example, the rise of skinheads was seen not as a

result of shared age-specific problems but rather as

a cultural response of resistance to collective experiences

of a loss of traditional working-class community,

a community that they were attempting to


During the 1960s and 1970s, sociologists and

media commentators with a more specific focus

on youth subcultures, such as the skinheads,

created a range of youth typologies. In the United

Kingdom, such spectacular types originally emphasized

social-class background with later additions

including gender, ethnic, and sexual

profiles, including mods, rockers, hippies, and

rastas. The 1980s witnessed a shift in research

away from the world of leisure, accompanied by

media announcements of the death of subcultures.

This was a response to Britain’s economic

decline and resulting mass youth unemployment,

with the transition from school to the labor

market as the new focus. At the same time, youth

culture, which had become increasingly commodified,

represented a major aspect of the cultural

industries within rapidly changing consumer capitalism.

More recent academic work has argued for

both giving voice to young people and recognizing

the independent explanatory role of culture,

rather than assuming that the latter is necessarily

responding to underlying economic and social

causes. Since the mid-1990s, cultural theorists

have radically questioned the adequacy of the

above theories in making sense of contemporary

young people’s lives with the diversity of lifestyles

and fragmentation of musical tastes.

Within the context of global changes in youth

and youth subcultures, a range of contested

accounts emerge, which have continuities and discontinuities

with earlier approaches. Some theorists,

suggesting that we have moved from

subcultures to club cultures, have focused on

modern-day spectacular types, including ravers

and new age travelers, with accompanying up-todate

moral panics about drug-taking folk devils.

Others emphasize that postmodern youth styles

are circulating globally through new technologies,

including cyberspace, cable and satellite TV,

and third-generation mobile telephone platforms.

Within this context young people are involved in

a “pick-and-mix” consumer approach, blending

styles of fashion and music. At the same time,

young people appear to be crossing social and

cultural boundaries, taking up and developing cultural

styles that are disconnected from their own

social and cultural locations. For example, violent

girl gangs may adopt traditional masculine youth

styles and young white people are celebrating

North American “black rap” cultural forms.

“Youth movements” refer to young people’s involvement

in a range of political, religious, or

social reforms. For example, a youth movement

may be seen to emerge out of youth cultures.

Young people’s shared values, beliefs, and practices

may be the source of an identifiable “movement.”

Such movements often appear threatening

to society as they may operate as a “counterculture,”

an alternative to the dominant or regular

forms of lifestyle. Another use of youth movement

refers to the process where groups of young

people use conventional or democratic channels

to achieve representation or get their voices

heard. These might include youth councils or

youth forums. Finally, youth movements may be

sanctioned, run by, or promoted by the state,

institutions, or religious movements. For example,

the Hitler Youth Movement in twentieth-century

Germany sought to cultivate particular beliefs and

values in young people. Other examples might be

the Scouting movement or the Young Men’s/

Women’s Christian Association.


youth culture

– see youth.

youth movements

– see youth.

youth youth movements



Zola, Irving (1935–1994)

A medical sociologist, Zola was one of the founders

of the interdisciplinary field of disability

studies and an activist in the disability rights

and self-help movements in the United States.

His Harvard education opened the world for

him but he never forgot his working-class roots,

reflected in his interests in gambling, juvenile

delinquency, and the downtrodden. His early

experience with polio and later involvement

in a serious automobile accident left him with

orthopedic and neurological impairments which

resulted in a disability affecting his mobility.

Zola’s dissertation explored differential perceptions

of pain and differences in behavior when

seeking medical help among three diverse cultural

groups in Boston: Irish Americans, Italians,

and Jews. His later work highlighted the subjective

experience of disability, being an embodied

subject, and the universality of disability. He was

Chair of the Medical Sociology Section of the

American Sociological Association, founder of

the Disabilities Studies Quarterly, which publishes

articles, personal statements, book and film

reviews, and news of interest to the academic

disability community, and a key member of the

disability movement responsible for the Americans

with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the emergence

of disability studies as a field. He was one of

the moving forces in establishing the Society for

Disability Studies. Zola was a scholar who contributed

to symbolic interactionism, incorporating a

critical component of pragmatism into his research

by combining academic research and activism.

He was, on the one hand, a member of the

National Academy of Sciences committee on disability,

organized to identify the critical research

issues in need of funding, and, on the other, an

activist who could be seen demonstrating on the

steps of a court house about accessibility.

His principal works include “Medicine as an Institution

of Social Control” (1972, Sociological Review)

Missing Pieces (1982), and “Bringing our Bodies and

Ourselves back in” (1991, Journal of Health & Social




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