Rethinking Hegemony: Uneven Development, Historical Blocs, and the World Economic Crisis

Authors


  •  This article was originally presented as a paper on the panel “Theorizing the Global Financial Crisis” at the 51st Annual Convention of the International Studies Association Annual held in February 2010 in New Orleans. The author would like to thank Liza Burdett, Paul Lewis, Ray Kiely, and, in particular, the anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft of the article. The usual disclaimers apply.

Abstract

Saull, Richard. (2012) Rethinking Hegemony: Uneven Development, Historical Blocs, and the World Economic Crisis. International Studies Quarterly,
doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2012.00720.x
© 2012 International Studies Association

The 2008–2009 global economic crisis has revived debates concerning the decline of American hegemony and the rise of China. This article engages with these debates on two levels. First, through situating the 2008–2009 crisis in longer-term development trends in the world economy, I suggest that the empirical evidence of American decline is more ambiguous and that the crisis itself is not, necessarily, an indicator of decline, but rather an organic feature of uneven development with more open political consequences. Secondly, I offer a revised neo-Gramscian perspective on American hegemony by highlighting the contradictions between the structural logic of uneven development and the neoliberal historical bloc. Through this I provide an alternative overview of the evolution of American hegemony over the last 30 years pointing to the likely continuation of American/neoliberal global hegemony.

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