Skip to main content

The Three Worlds

Culture and World Development

A major, eclectic work of extraordinary scope and unprecedented vision, The Three Worlds is much more than a study of the contemporary Third World. It examines the constituents of development—cultural as well as political and economic—throughout the world from prehistory to the present.

Peter Worsley first considers existing theories of development, synthesizing the Marxist approach with that of social anthropologists and identifying culture—in the sense of a shared set of values—as the key element missing in more traditional approaches to the sociology of development. Worsley then examines successive forms of rural organization, develops a new definition of the urban poor, considers the relation of ethnicity and nationalism to social class and to each other, and, finally, discusses the nature of the three worlds implied in the term Third World.

424 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1984

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Table of Contents

I. Prolegomena
The Creation of the Third World
Theories of Development
The Myth of Base and Superstructure: Dialectics versus Materialism
Culture: the Missing Concept
Anthropology and Holism
Literary Criticism: the Elitist Paradigm
From Hegemony to Pluralism: Subculture and Counter-culture
II. The Undoing of the Peasantry
Before Agriculture
Enter Agriculture: the Domestic Mode of Production
The Peasant Mode of Production
The Road to Capitalist Agriculture
The Road to the Collective Farm
A Diversion: the "Asiatic" Mode of Production
The Great Debate: Russia
Revolution, 1905
The Moral Economy of the Peasant
Collectives and Communes
The Peasantry: Persistence, Transformation, Disappearance Reform
(i) Community Development
(ii) Co-operatives
(iii) Land Reform
The Varieties of Capitalist Agriculture
III. The Making of the Working Class
The Urban Explosion
Systems Theory, Interactionism, and Dialectical Sociology
Systems Theory: Functionalist and Marxist
Lumpens, Aristocrats, and the Reserve Army
The Culture of Poverty
The Variety of Poverty
The Myth of ’Marginality’
The ’Informal’ Sector
The Poor in Action
The Established Working Class
IV. Ethnicity and Nationalism
Ethnicity, Class and Culture
Ethnic Group and Nation
The Three Modes of Nationalism
Before Nationalism: The Segmentary State
The Absolutist Nation-state: Hegemony
The Bourgeois Nation-state: Uniformity
Decolonization: the First Wave
Pluralism: Internationalism and Multinationalism
Nationalism and Myth: Inventing a New Past
Nationalism and Socialism
Nationalism in the Capitalist Third World
Populism and Authoritarianism
V. One World or Three?
Models of the Third World
From Politics to Economics
Third World: Resistance and Change
Culture Imperialism, Cultural Resistance, and Cultural Revolution
Appendix: The Urban Poor in the Workshop of the World

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press