Giovanni Arrighi

Giovanni Arrighi

Giovanni Arrighi giving a lecture at the Faculty of Humanities at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa (April 18, 2007)
Born (1937-07-07)July 7, 1937
Milan, Italy
Died June 18, 2009(2009-06-18) (aged 71)
Baltimore, Maryland
Nationality Italy
Fields Sociology, International relations, Political economy
Institutions Johns Hopkins University
Binghamton University
Alma mater Bocconi University
Known for Historical Sociology
Political Economy
Influences Karl Marx
Antonio Gramsci
Fernand Braudel
Karl Polanyi
Paul A. Baran
Jaap van Velsen

Giovanni Arrighi (7 July 1937 – 18 June 2009) was an Italian scholar of political economy and sociology, and from 1998 a Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. His work has been translated into over fifteen languages.


Arrighi was born in Italy in 1937. He received his Laurea in economics from the Bocconi University in 1960. Arrighi began his career teaching at the University College of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and later at the University College of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. During this period he developed arguments about how the labor supply and labor resistance affected the development of colonialism and national liberation movements. It was there that he met Immanuel Wallerstein, later a collaborator on a number of research projects. After returning to Italy in 1969, Arrighi and others formed the "Gruppo Gramsci" in 1971. In 1979 Arrighi joined Wallerstein and Terence Hopkins as a professor of sociology at the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations at Binghamton University. It was during this time that the Fernand Braudel Center became known as the main center of world-systems analysis, attracting scholars from all over the world.

His most famous work was a trilogy on the origins and transformations of global capitalism, which began in 1994 with a book that reinterpreted the evolution of capitalism, The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Times. The book is a classic in the field, published in at least ten languages. Giovanni completed a second edition of The Long Twentieth Century in 2009. In 1999, he published Chaos and Governance in the Modern World System with Beverly Silver, and in 2007, he published Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century, comparing Western and East Asian economic development and exploring China’s rise as an economic world power.

Although in many ways intellectually close to Immanuel Wallerstein, Arrighi tends to ascribe greater significance to the recent shift in economic power to East Asia. He also emphasized his debt to Adam Smith, Max Weber, Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, Karl Polanyi and Joseph Schumpeter.

Arrighi died in his home in Baltimore on June 18, 2009. He had been diagnosed with cancer in July 2008. He is survived by his wife and partner in scholarship, Professor Beverly Silver, and his son Andrea Arrighi.

A retrospective interview by David Harvey on his intellectual trajectory, The Winding Paths of Capital, was published in the March/April 2009 issue of New Left Review.



Review of Adam Smith in Beijing: Elvin, Mark (July–August 2008). "The historian as haruspex". New Left Review. New Left Review. II (52). 

Journal articles and book chapters since 2001

See also

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