Immanuel Wallerstein (Screenshot of
Immanuel Wallerstein (Screenshot of
In his major work "The Modern World-System", the American sociologist analysed the development and effects of global capitalism. Wallerstein died at the age of 88.

The American sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein died on August 31, 2019. Wallerstein's main work, "The Modern World-System", comprises four volumes in which he analysed the development of global capitalism from the 16th century to the present day. The accumulation of political power and capital has consolidated and intensified global asymmetries, leading to the formation of centers, peripheries and semi-peripheries.

Wallerstein's work was particularly influenced by the fact that he considered nation states to be unsuitable as a unit for the analysis of society. "I sought to produce ... a detailed critique of why both national development and developmentalism as an explanatory model (modernization theory) are illusions" (Immanuel Wallerstein: The Development of an Intellectual Position). International dependencies and interactions did not stop at national borders and should therefore be included in social science analysis. This had to be "simultaneously historic and systemic, if it were to grapple seriously with the description and explanation of the real world."

Wallerstein taught and conducted research at Columbia University, McGill University, Binghamton University and Yale University, among others. He was also president of the International Sociological Association in the 1990s.

Wallerstein was active into old age, publishing commentaries on his website every 1st and 15th of a month with absolute dedication. Some time ago, he had set himself the goal of publishing 500 commentaries and then finishing the series. Two months after the 500th entry, Wallerstein died at the age of 88.