Conceptualizing the west in international relations by J. O'Hagan

By J. O'Hagan

West is an idea general in diplomacy, yet we hardly ever consider what we suggest by way of the time period. Conceptions of and what the West is differ commonly. This e-book examines conceptions of the West drawn from writers from varied historic and highbrow contexts, revealing either fascinating parallels and issues of divergence. It additionally displays on implications of those diverse perceptions of the way we comprehend the position of the West, and its interactions with different civilizational identities.

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For instance, the club of advanced industrialized societies includes not only the geographic West, in the sense of Western Europe, but also those former colonies and dominions in which white, European culture had become predominant. How else could Australia or New Zealand be considered as Western? The West of politicians and commentators such as Sukarno (Modelski, 1963), Mahathir (1986), Panikkar (1953) and Said (1978) is a West characterized by colonial expansion, and by economic and technological power.

Is this essentially a hierarchical society in which the norms of the dominant culture prevail, or is there the possibility for negotiating a society in which the values of all participants are not only acknowledged but given expression? In such a context, how might common norms and values be negotiated and managed? These are crucial questions that apply to contemporary debates relating to issues such as the evolution of the human rights regime and norms of intervention. As such, they deserve our fullest attention.

In principle, liberal theories focus on the individual as the foundation of pluralist communities. In practice, modern liberal theorists have acknowledged the primacy of the states system and focused on understanding how other actors interact with, and constrain, states in their analysis of institutions, regimes and processes of interdependence or regional integration. Although in the post-Cold War environment liberal international theory may provide openings for reflection on issues relating to civilizations, cultures and identity, it still provides no category in its framework of analysis for civilizational communities.

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