CFP: Journal of World-Systems Research
Submission deadline: August 15, 2023
JWSR Special Issue: National Sovereignty and the World-System
Guest Editors: Roberto D. Hernández, San Diego State University and Nandita Sharma, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Immanuel Wallerstein saw the capitalist world economy as today’s only social system, one which connects people across ideologies of nationalism, racism, and nativism. Yet, “society” continues to be regarded by most people as being co-terminus with the nation-state. One reason for this is the acceptance of liberalism as the dominant geoculture of the world-system from the French revolution in 1789 through the global revolution of 1968. Liberalism, Wallerstein (2011) maintained is “a set of ideas, values, and norms that were widely accepted throughout the system and that constrained social action thereafter.” Despite post-1960s transformations, the corollary commitment to the nation-state form has continued, including for many who imagine themselves as part of anti-systemic movements. This raises the question of whether it is nationalism and the nation-state form itself that is the central pro-systemic ideology, or geoculture, of the capitalist world-system.
This special issue examines the world-scale importance of nationalisms within the world capitalist system. Although world systems theorists insisted on changing our unit of analysis to the world economy, nationalisms have allowed the nation-state to remain central. By employing a non- or even anti-nationalist perspective, this issue seeks to advance our understanding of how nationalisms both shape and distort our understanding of the world capitalist system. It both critiques and challenges analyses that ignore and sometimes even applaud national forms of state sovereignty in our present world system. By examining nationalisms as pro-systemic ideologies, this special issue explores how capitalism continues to absorb dissent. It also examines how nation-states within the world system help to restore equilibrium within the world capitalist system while also addressing capital’s continuing crises (whether its “worst excesses” or writ large). Contributors will include investigations of how the relatively recent political system of nation-states has changed the ways in which capital is accumulated, how capitalist social relations are organized, and how nationalisms obfuscate our relations to one another across our shared planet. It seeks to build on the work of scholars analyzing how the post-WWII expansion of capitalist social relations helps to maintain, rather than undermine, now inter-national hierarchies.
Despite supposedly anti-systemic nationalist movements encountering the limits of their own logics when faced with a capitalist world economy, the material and affective commitments to nationalisms and nation-states remain as strong as ever, including in theoretical efforts to explain why fundamental transformations to the capitalist world system were not forthcoming with “national self-determination.” Such theories, which remain central to many accounts of the relationship between “core” and “periphery” failed to account for a key insight of world-systems analysis; namely, that nation-states were not separate, bounded entities but a part of a world capitalist system, one that was a continuation, indeed an intensification of the uneven, hierarchical, and unjust system of European imperialism that the postcolonial order of nation-states replaced.
Analyzing nationalisms as a systemic ideology of our postcolonial capitalist world-system sheds new light on anti-immigrant politics and policies, a central feature of nation-states. Normalizing citizenship regimes that produce “migrants” as people out of place is a significant aspect of life in today’s world capitalist system. Anti-migrant politics contributes significantly to the accumulation of capital. By nationalizing the capitalist wage, such politics absorb and threaten to destroy radical efforts at organizing mutual cooperation and aid. In the process, they intensify competition in world markets for labor, deliver “migrant labor” as super-exploited and precarious workers for capital, and legitimize the existence of nation-states with a further militarization of their borders.
We invite 250-word abstracts for proposed papers on this topic, including:
Comparative and historical approaches to studying the relationship between nationalisms and capitalist world-system
- Theoretical explorations into the relationship between nationalisms, including movements for national territorial sovereignty, and world-systems analysis of capitalist social relations
- Comparative, historical, and/or theoretical studies of the significance of anti-immigrant politics to the organization of capitalist labor markets specifically, and capitalist social relations more broadly.
- Studies of the negative duality between “citizen” and “migrant” within the world capitalist system
- Analysis of the fraught relationship between decolonization, anti-capitalism, and nationalism
- World-historical analysis of non-nationalist or anti-nationalist opposition to the capitalist world system
- Studies of non-nationalist or anti-nationalist subjectivities within the world capitalist system
250-word abstracts should be submitted by August 15, 2023 to be considered for the special issue. Special issue editors will review abstract submissions and notify those accepted by September 1, 2023. Completed final draft of the paper for comments from the editors are due by January 5, 2024. Full papers ready for external peer-review are due March 1, 2024 and final papers, ready for production, are due July 1, 2024. We are aiming to have this special issue complete for Summer 2024 publication.
Send abstract submissions and inquiries to both Roberto D. Hernández and Nandita Sharma
Please include in the subject line “JWSR National Sovereignty and World Systems”
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