Patterns of the Semiperiphery: Using Valued Blockmodeling Techniques to Map and Specify the Relational Characteristics of Semiperipheral Countries

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: 419
Oral Presentation
Carl NORDLUND , Center for Network Science; Department of Political Science, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Although the trichotomy of the world-system often is specified in terms of properties of each stratum, particular the global division of labor, an increasing number of studies specify and define such strata in relational terms. Parallell to this, the core-periphery concept has also been specified by network scholars as a structural template that captures some of the original relational connotations.

However, even though the semiperiphery has a distinct role in world-system analysis, with several scholar focusing explicitly on this particular stratum, very little has been said about the relational patterns of the semiperiphery. Rather, in relational (network) analyses, semiperipheral countries are typically those whose relational properties fit neither the core nor the periphery.

Combining a novel approach for blockmodeling of valued networks with a novel heuristic that identifies dependency and dominance in core-periphery structures, this paper addresses the following questions: does the semiperiphery, similar to the core and the periphery, has its unique patterns of ties? If so, what patterns? What are the characteristic patterns of ties between the semiperiphery and, respectively, the core and the periphery? Using pre-determined core-semiperiphery-periphery partitions of the contemporary world-system as specified in the qualitative literature, the novel network-analytical methods are applied in the analysis of international commodity trade matrices in search of would-be ideal blocks that characterize semiperipheral relations. Finding such would not only allow for identifying semiperipheral countries based on their relational features, as something distinct from similar blocks for core and periphery, respectively, but it would also allow for mapping patterns of dependency and dominance within the semiperiphery and its patterns to the core and periphery strata. Additionally, it would provide the formal network-analytical toolbox with a specification and possible structural definitions of core, semiperiphery and periphery that actually stems from the actual context from which the trichonomy stems, i.e. world-system analysis.