American Sociological Association

Winter/Spring 2020 Issue of Journal of World-Systems Research

March 26, 2020

The Journal of World-Systems Research has released its Winter/Spring 2020 issue.

“We are in an era now of chronic emergency,” according to Brian Bird, lead researcher on Ebola-related surveillance activities in Sierra Leone and elsewhere. “Diseases are more likely to travel further and faster than before, which means we must be faster in our responses. It needs investments, change in human behaviour, and it means we must listen to people at community levels.” This is the conclusion of research by Kelly F. Austin in the latest issue of the Journal of World-Systems Research. Austin’s work sheds light on the hazards of marketized health systems for public health, revealing how the global economy exacerbates risks of infectious disease and undermines government abilities to protect residents while simultaneously discouraging serious efforts by governments to document and control communicable diseases. Her interviews with residents of a low-income community in Uganda show how popular knowledge can inform public health research and improve efforts to prevent future pandemics.

 Daniel Cunha’s article, “Coppering the Industrial Revolution,” illustrates how the rise and fall of different actors in the world-system was shaped by the larger ecological regime, in which copper played a central role. His contribution reinforces lessons about humans’ inescapable connection to the physical environment.

Peter Wilkin’s “Fear of a Yellow Planet” documents France’s “Yellow Vest” movement, exposing another pattern of elite reaction to popular resistance to the austerity imposed under neoliberalism. While critics of the movement have downplayed its coherence and associated it with xenophobic, right-wing tendencies, Wilkin sees a progressive populism as the prevailing impetus, with majorities of activists demanding social and economic justice. French politicians’ reactions to those resisting hardships from deep economic inequalities and austerity policies are being echoed today in the Trump administration’s early response to the Covid-19 pandemic. See the full table of contents below.

See the read the full issue (and previous issues), visit

The Journal of World-Systems Research is the official journal of the Political Economy of the World-System Section of the ASA. 

Get Involved


ASA needs you to serve the discipline

Join a Section

Explore ASA's community of specialists in the discipline

Join ASA

Join or renew your membership