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Read e-book online Formations of European Modernity: A Historical and Political PDF

By G. Delanty

ISBN-10: 1137287918

ISBN-13: 9781137287915

ISBN-10: 1137287926

ISBN-13: 9781137287922

This e-book offers a old and political sociology of eu historical past and society. It deals a serious interpretation of the process ecu background taking a look at the emergence of the assumption of Europe and the emergence of modernity.

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Additional info for Formations of European Modernity: A Historical and Political Sociology of Europe

Example text

Defining Europe The account of modernity provided goes some way to defining Europe: There is neither a primary origin – geographical or cultural – that gives Europe its identity nor an external Other against which it formed its identity. Nor is there a historical centre that has remained constant, but shifting ones and which do not coincide with geography, though arguably the Carolingian kingdom constituted the most long-lasting historical core, as Jacques le Goff (2006) has argued. Europe was formed in a long historical process involving the interaction of many cultures and the subsequent transformation of the new forms by modernity.

The historical sociologist Johann Arnason, following philosophers Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Cornelius Castoriadis, refers to the cultural dimension of civilizations as ‘ways of articulating the world’ (Arnason 2003). As such, civilizations have at their heart conflicting interpretations of world; they are not self-enclosed systems of meaning based on enduring ontological visions, but entail evaluative orders of meaning and also more radically creative impulses. In this sense, then, the civilizational thrust can be a source of societal transformation and should not be mistaken for that which is simply handed down unchanged.

This has prompted many geographers going back to Alexander von Humboldt to argue that there is no geographical distinction between Europe and Asia and that the former is a peninsula of Asia. Others have argued that these notions are redundant and should be replaced by the wider category of Eurasia. No point in Western Europe is more than 350 km from the sea, a distance that is doubled for much of Central Europe and reaches some 11,000 km for the Russian plains (Mollat du Jourdin 1993: 4–6). Moreover, the course of Europe’s rivers facilitates links between the seas and the agriculturally rich hinterlands.

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Formations of European Modernity: A Historical and Political Sociology of Europe by G. Delanty


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