IV Congreso Internacional
Historia a Debate
Santiago de Compostela, 15-19 de diciembre de 2010
Sección I. 2. Innovaciones paradigmáticas (historia mixta
como historia global)
Klemens Kaps (Vienna University, Austria)
Center, Periphery, Hybridity. Transcending World-System. Analysis from a post-colonial perspective
Immanuel Wallerstein’s world-system analysis has generated an intense and wide-spread debate since it’s formulation more than three decades ago. Among earlier critics, focused on its new interpretation of Marxist positions, historical and geographical works of the past two decades aimed at reformulating the approach towards a more dynamic and relational model. Especially, the inner periphery model from German scholars around Hans-Heinrich Nolte makes the approach compatible with both transnational and regional paradigms and dissolves both its universalistic narrative and its strong socio-economic determinism, so apparent in Wallerstein’s early writings. These important and fruitful paradigmatical changes notwithstanding, most studies based on the centre-periphery model hardly take into account the linguistic turn. Spatial hierarchies are constructed upon notions and criteria which follow concepts of social sciences, whereas the question of how these spatial hierarchies are constructed and (re)produced discursively hardly are posed.
These questions are certainly explored by postcolonial studies, which, however, treat them as part of intellectual or cultural history. The paper’s proposal is to bring these two historiographical currents together and shift the focus to the analysis of spatial hierarchies in social and economic discourses, in order to show how social and economic realities are created by discursive practice. Part of this practice is also to possibly dissolve the antipodes of centre and periphery via the concept of hybridity. The paper finally explores to what degree hybrid forms in society and economy pose a way of transcending these antipodes and could form an element of a developmental strategy towards lowering spatial hierarchies or if its rather its result and consequence.