History of European Ideas 46 (5):563-581 (2020)

Authors
Georgios Varouxakis
Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London
Abstract
ABSTRACT This article takes issue with the current orthodoxy that the idea of ‘the West' as a supranational self-description based on civilizational commonality first emerged in English in the 1890s and 1900s in the context of the needs of British high imperialism. It shows, first, that there were, already in the eighteenth century, incipient attempts towards a term denoting a distinctive West-European cultural unity. It argues, further, that such uses were rather casual and interchangeable with overwhelmingly more references to ‘Europe' as the supranational civilizational entity that the authors identified with, until - roughly - the middle of the nineteenth century. The first conscious and sustained attempts to articulate a distinctive ‘Western' identity and a concept of ‘the West' that was promoted as an alternative to the allegedly confusing term ‘Europe' came in the 1850s and 1860s, promoted by the British Comtists. Thus, while some of the first, relatively inconsistent, uses of ‘the West' conform to the stereotype of celebrating a liberty-cherishing ‘West', others – the most sustained articulations of an idea of ‘the West' – were inspired by an overtly illiberal project. The article argues that in both cases ‘the West’ was imported into English usage from German and French.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1080/01916599.2020.1746079
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,163
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Did Europe Exist Before 1700?Peter Burke - 1980 - History of European Ideas 1 (1):21-29.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Misunderstanding Cultures: Islam and the West.Kwame Anthony Appiah - 2012 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (4-5):425-433.
Islam and the West: Peace Through Freedom.Ataul Huq Pramanik - 2003 - Intellectual Discourse 11 (2).
The Hidden Integration of Eurasia: East-West Relations in the History of Technology.Per Högselius & Yao Dazhi - 2017 - Acta Baltica Historiae Et Philosophiae Scientiarum 5 (2):71-99.
Rethinking the ‘Western Tradition’.Penny Enslin & Kai Horsthemke - 2015 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 47 (11):1166-1174.
Globality: Cultural Comparison Between Europe and China.Wolfgang Kubin - 2019 - In Ludger Kühnhardt & Tilman Mayer (eds.), The Bonn Handbook of Globality: Volume 2. Springer Verlag. pp. 1485-1497.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2020-08-11

Total views
5 ( #1,203,408 of 2,506,525 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,791 of 2,506,525 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes