In this important study, Abu-Lughod presents a groundbreaking reinterpretation of global economic evolution, arguing that the modern world economy had its roots not in the sixteenth century, as is widely supposed, but in the thirteenth century economy--a system far different from the European world system which emerged from it. Using the city as the working unit of analysis, Before European Hegemony provides a new paradigm for understanding the evolution of world systems by tracing the rise of a system that, at its peak in the opening decades of the 14th century, involved a vast region stretching between northwest Europe and China. Writing in a clear and lively style, Abu-Lughod explores the reasons for the eventual decay of this system and the rise of European hegemony.
"A provocative, well-researched, imaginative book."--Contemporary Sociology
"A useful and stimulating economic history that juxtaposes data from many different regions....The book should prove useful and popular in world history courses."--American Historical Review
"An important work in historical sociology."--Science & Society
"A beautifully written work, whose scope is comparable to those of Immanuel Wallerstein and Fernand Braudel."--American Sociological Association
"World history at its best, combining breadth and depth, pattern with detail....A first-class contribution that will become a major reference point in future scholarship."--American Journal of Sociology