Provincializing and Localizing Core-Periphery Relations
Cilja Harders – 2015
The paper engages engages with core-periphery conceptions because they are a useful "Denkfigur" in a time of increasing global interconnectedness. I argue that the core-periphery metaphor is a useful one because it provides us (1) with a relational tool of analysis and (2) with a focus on asymmetric power-relations. But it also has some serious limitations such as a tendency to be over-deterministic and to be too global in scale. In order to meet these limitations, I suggest to re-scale Prebisch, Amin and Wallersteins global conception of core and periphery to the local scale. I hold that we need to “provincialise” the core-periphery metaphor to borrow Chakrabarty’s (2000) famous term and to make the agency of local actors more relevant to our understanding of political dynamics in the Maghreb, Mashreq and Gulf region. I sketch how “provincialized” and “localized” ways of using the core-periphery metaphor could look like. This part builds on the main ideas Malika Bouziane, Anja Hoffmann and I developed in the introduction to our volume on “Local Politics and Contemporary Transformations in the Arab World” as well as my approach of a “state analysis from below”.