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European Universalism The Rhetoric of Power

ISBN-10: 1595580611
ISBN-13: 9781595580610
Edition: 2006
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Description: How ideas such as civilization and progress have been used as a smoke screen for western dominance, by the world-renowned sociologist. Ever since the Enlightenment, Western intervention around the world has been justified by appeals to notions of  More...

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Book details

List price: $15.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 6/30/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 94
Size: 5.25" wide x 7.25" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.242
Language: English

How ideas such as civilization and progress have been used as a smoke screen for western dominance, by the world-renowned sociologist. Ever since the Enlightenment, Western intervention around the world has been justified by appeals to notions of civilization, development, and progress. The assumption has been that such ideas are universal, encrusted in natural law. But, as Immanuel Wallerstein argues in this short and elegant philippic, these concepts are, in fact, not global. Rather, their genesis is firmly rooted in European thought and their primary function has been to provide justification for powerful states to impose their will against the weak under the smoke screen of what is supposed to be both beneficial to humankind and historically inevitable. With great acuity Wallerstein draws together discussions of the idea of orientalism, the right to intervene, and the triumph of science over the humanities to explain how strategies designed to promote particular Western interests have acquired an all-inclusive patina. Wallerstein concludes by advocating a true universalism that will allow critical appraisal of all justifications for intervention by the powerful against the weak. At a time when such interventionin the name of democracy and human rightshas returned to the center stage of world politics, his treatise is both relevant and compelling.

Immanuel Wallerstein has been a Senior Research Scholar at Yale University since 2000, having taught previously at many distinguished universities. Among his many books, he is the author of the magisterial 4-volume work, The Modern World System. Volume IV is recently published.

Introduction : the politics of universalism today
Whose right to intervene? : universal rights against barbarism
Can one be a non-orientalist? : essentalist particularism
How do we know the truth? : scientific universalism
The power of ideas, the ideas of power : to give and to receive?

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