The working group “Transformations in the World System – Comparative Studies of Development”
Le groupe de travail “Transformations dans le système mondial – Études comparatives du développement”
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Faculty of Sociology)
семінар «Піднесення нової периферії у світі»
The Rise of New Periphery in the World
La croissance de la nouvelle périphérie mondiale
Запрошуємо взяти участь у науковому семінарі «Піднесення нової периферії у світі», який буде проходити 20 вересня в приміщенні факультету соціології Київського національного університету імені Тараса Шевченка, ауд. 504. Початок – о 9:00. Реєстрація учасників з 8:30 в ауд.504.
Організатори семінару – факультет соціології КНУ спільно з робочою групою Європейської асоціації Інститутів дослідження розвитку (EADI) «Трансформації у світовій системі – порівняльні дослідження розвитку». В семінарі доповідачами будуть науковці з України, Росії, Польщі, Іспанії, Непалу – див. програму. Мова семінару – англійська.
Оргкомітет міжнародного семінару
The working group “Transformations in the World System – Comparative Studies of Development” launches the workshop “The Rise of New Periphery in the World”.
As it is known, the concepts of periphery and core (centre) have been the key elements of the world-system analysis and development studies since the mid-20th century when this discipline of social sciences has emerged. Apparently, periphery and core have been performed and co-evolved as opposites undistinguishable from each other. Their unity has been rooted in dependency of peripheral countries on the world-system core. Originally, these concepts emerged in a framework of some kind of “pure economic” vision seen as systemic elements of trade relations between the rich, industrial North, and the poor, agrarian South (H. Singer, D. Seers, R. Prebisch, A. Emmanuel, A. Pinto, I. Wallerstein). S. Amin, not rejecting such an approach to the periphery-core problems completely, focused on the process of material production and differences in labour skills between the economies of the North and the South. Nevertheless, growing knowledge of development/dependency relationships did not exceed conceptual boundaries of the world-system approach as a whole.
At present, when one can see the rise and expansion of zones falling almost completely out of the global integration process (and les zones du non-droit, recalling the idea of Eduard Balladur), widely accepted concepts of development should be reconsidered. The process of globalisation put, not only in the general but also in the particular sense, the following questions: can the world core exist without periphery, and if yes, to what extent? Does non-inclusion into the global financial-commercial and economic system mean complete detachment from the world periphery? Can periphery extend independently from the global commercial and financial sub-systems? Where does the economic growth of failed and semi-failed states really arrive at? What are the social-economic and political factors favourable to self-exclusion (self-expulsion) of some countries from the world system?
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the “socialist” Soviet bloc opened way, as it appeared to many observers and common people, to the triumph of democracy and free market economy on a global scale. However, reality became somewhat different. Only few territories/regions of the former Soviet bloc experienced genuinely positive changes in their economy, social and political life. On the contrary, a vast majority of the formerly “socialist” countries’ peoples had to face a shocking decline of their standards of living and lost several social benefits/guarantees that were available for the working people in the past. Technically sophisticated, medium- and high-tech (“knowledge intensive”) industries degraded gradually. Countries, previously having belonged to the so-called “socialist community” (the Second World), can now be categorised (with some kind of exaggeration) as underdeveloped and backward, as the Third World was 40 years ago. How can we explain this phenomenon of large-scale decline and degradation? What are the social and economic and/or institutional factors or mechanisms of this great failure? Are there some chances for countries of the former “socialist bloc” to restore their positions in the world?
Certainly, the rise of a new periphery is observable not only in the ex-USSR. While some countries and regions surmount obstacles to development more or less successfully, several other regions (even in those of them with success story) experience an evident process of involution (decline) or, at best, stagnation. With regard to the fascinating phenomena of modernisation in the People’s Republic of China as a whole, or to the amazing successes of high-tech/software industries in India, one should be cautious and pay attention also to the large geographical regions and social strata of backwardness in these gigantic countries. Even the group of “tigers” (even though the second-tier “tigers”) including Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, could not yet abolished the internal periphery where most of the people are living in abject poverty or below the official poverty line. These facts raise doubt of the strength and longevity of the so-called East Asian “miracles” and in the secular (epochal) and global (world-wide) character of eastward shift in the world system. The regions and strata in permanent poverty and backwardness are still existing in Latin America, although the Left and Left-centrist governments in many Latin American countries apply non-ordinary and relatively successful efforts to overcome poverty.
Last but not least, one can see an extension of the internal periphery in certain parts of the advanced, “First World” countries, including the US and UK. This phenomenon is adversely affecting the global economic, trade and financial situation and development as a whole. Meanwhile, it is the area of the former Soviet bloc which is now appearing as the world “champion” by pace and depth of the obvious drift to the periphery.
Taking into account the above processes in all underdeveloped and also some developed regions of the world, we suggest focusing on the special case of East European and the CIS countries. That is why we propose to discuss the following issues:
- the post-Soviet economic system versus free/social market economy;
- privatisation of the state versus privatisation of enterprises;
- an integration into the global market and survival of the old (non-market, statist and protectionist) economic system;
- the internal periphery: preconditions and prospects of its emergence and evolution; poverty and exclusion from social and economic development;
- corruption as a characteristic feature of post-Soviet societies and patrimonial, client statehood;
- the anti-developmental state; de-institutionalisation of the state (destruction of political and legal institutions);
- political revolutions without social transformations: a vicious circle of stagnation and revolts;
- the problem of social agents of modernisation: where and which are the social strata capable to initiate and maintain development?
The workshop will be held in Kiev on September 19-20, 2013 and hosted by the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Faculty of Sociology). The working languages are English and French, according to the statute of EADI. The proceedings of the workshop will be published by the Spanish internet-journal Entelequia (www.eumed.net/enetelequia...)