World-Culture and the Neoliberal World-System: An Introduction

  • Sharae DeckardEmail author
  • Stephen ShapiroEmail author
Part of the New Comparisons in World Literature book series (NCWL)


Arguing for the continued utility of the keyword neoliberalism, this introduction contends that it must, however, be viewed through an awareness of historical transformations throughout the longer duration of the capitalist world-system. We seek to rehistorize neoliberal transformations within a world-systems perspective that enables a more comprehensive understanding of the ways in which capitalism requires structural inequalities that are produced through the constellation of cores, semiperipheries, and peripheries. Such a comparative perspective has the salutary benefit of overcoming the Euro-American-centrism that has constrained many discussions of neoliberalism that only concentrate on the experiences of northern capitalist cores. Elaborating the basic elements of world-systems and world-ecology perspectives and their utility for criticism of neoliberal world-culture, this chapter also insists on the constitutive role of culture in the rise of neoliberalism, using illustrations from US-dominant financial derivatives and hip-hop culture and Jamaican music. Finally, we seek to differentiate the neoliberal world-system from prior periods in capitalism’s history. We argue that a concept of capitalist periodicity and a better understanding of the nested temporalities of the expanded reproduction of capital are beneficial to a more satisfying periodization of the unfolding of neoliberalization.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DublinRepublic of Ireland
  2. 2.CoventryUK

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