Since well before the symposium on Sinology and the Social Sciences, carried in this journal more than a decade ago, modernization theory has provided a key theoretical orientation for many Western students of China. Immanuel Wallerstein has launched a major frontal attack on modernization theory and has proposed an alternative of considerable interest to those of us studying late imperial and modern China. Indeed, “Wallersteinism” is becoming something of a major academic growth industry. Wallerstein's perspective is not without problems, but his views deserve fuller exposure in the China field because of their implications for the study of change in Chinese society.

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