States as actors.

Wed, 9 Apr 1997 12:34:55 -0400 (EDT)
Andrew Wayne Austin (

Warren Wager views world-systems theory as likable because of its view of
the nation-states, specifically that the nation-state is still relevant
and that *all* talk of the demise of the nation-state is "preposterous."
Nation-states are still relevant, however they cannot be taken as the unit
of analysis. Moreover, nation-states in much world system theorizing are
rendered in either anthropomorphic fashion (lumbering giants walking the
earth) or inserted into illegitimately teleological schemes (an inherent
problem in systems analysis). There are better nonreductive conceptions of
the behavior of capitalist states, such as Poulantzas and even Skocpol.
However, not even world systems theory blinds itself to the objective
world-historical forces "unfolding" before our eyes. Nation-states are
being re-organized from their structure under an interstate system to fit
more efficiently and profitably transnational system. Even if Warren
wishes to give nation-states considerable power, as I do as well, they are
still not the primary players in the current context. Remember, the power
of world systems theory was its claim to be taking the entire world as its
unit of analysis. We should start here in our analysis of current
structural transformations.

Andrew Austin.