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Return to Book Page. Preview — European Universalism by Immanuel Wallerstein. 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 How ideas such as civilization and progress have been used as a smoke screen for Western dominance, by the world-renowned sociologist.
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 intervention—in the name of democracy and human rights—has returned to the center stage of world politics, his treatise is both relevant and compelling. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title.
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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Oct 13, AC rated it did not like it Shelves: cycle-history. Interesting premise, but hopelessly mediocre in the execution. Basically crap, and not worth the time.
Move on View all 4 comments. Oct 15, Josh rated it really liked it. I liked this. It opened me up to Wallerstien's perpsective which I appreciate. He also is so lucid about the various poles that the world-system is moving. THis book is about ideologies and universalism which is essential for understanding how to "think globally" without carrying all the crap that westerns always do.
May 28, Jeff rated it it was amazing. What is very good about this book is that it is so shockingly obvious that only a terrible person would refuse to admit Wallerstein has excellent points.
I in-text cited the following: "These ideas are commonly reflective of any open-minded, rational, well-traveled person. Wallerstein, View 2 comments. I had been wanting to read this for at least a decade. This is an excellent analysis of European universalism, which serves as an ideological rationalization for pan-European racism, Orientalism, and imperial control.
Wallerstein suggests as an alternative not cultural-nationalism or Occidentalism but rather a truly liberatory internationalist counter-movement that would bring about a world in which "all would give and all would receive" p.
I highly recommend it! Pie-in-the-Sky Stuff Wallerstein's main point is that two of the main pillars of the liberal international order, or what he calls the "world system" that emerged after - the human rights regime and the market economy - are predicated on a false, "European universalism" heavily shot through with Orientalism. Its values, he avers, represent an exploitative ruling minority that dominates the weak, especially subaltern and working people.
It is this arrogant and subjective universalism that, he Pie-in-the-Sky Stuff Wallerstein's main point is that two of the main pillars of the liberal international order, or what he calls the "world system" that emerged after - the human rights regime and the market economy - are predicated on a false, "European universalism" heavily shot through with Orientalism. It is this arrogant and subjective universalism that, he suspects, allows the strong to intervene in the politics of other countries in the name of human rights and exploit people with expanding markets.
As should be obvious at this point, Wallerstein is extremely critical of capitalism. Wallerstein wants a "universal universalism" instead. By this he means something other than, and more ecumenical than, what he calls "European universalism". The problem is, he doesn't offer any concrete ideas about what this "universal universalism" might actually look like. He writes: "it is not that there may not be global universal values. It is rather that we are far from yet knowing what these values are.
Something that is universal does not have to have universal origins. It simply must be universal in its application of a truth statement. Some fuzzy, pluralistic, ecumenical universalism is not more universalist than a universalism being advanced from a particular point of view. It seems Wallerstein simply cannot accept the fact that the universal values of the human rights regime and the market economy come, for the most part, out of Europe and therefore reflect its vantage point. This, of course, is nonsense.
The general narrative of the past half century is that more and more people have been lifted from poverty by this world system. And while its political track record is not quite as encouraging, there has yet been an expansion of liberty and democracy in the world since I would say the world system has done remarkably well. But this aggregate improvement in people's lots, Wallerstein says, does not justifying whatever costs it has entailed.
Like so many people on the Far Left, Wallerstein is animated by an impulse that says, "there must be a better way, a perfect way. Jul 22, Jeff Doquesa rated it liked it.
The content is not so much related with the title. I was quite disappointed because I did not find what I was looking for. Jan 07, Kevin rated it really liked it. Excellent opening chapter on intervention. Third chapter also contained a good critique of the university system. Drew rated it really liked it Aug 05, Brendan rated it it was amazing Sep 07, Justina rated it really liked it Aug 06, Aaron J Olson rated it it was amazing May 20, Amanda rated it liked it Jul 03, Alex rated it it was amazing Sep 09, Nick Ziegler rated it really liked it Jul 28, Pedro Said Vieira rated it it was amazing Apr 16, Daniel rated it really liked it Sep 16, Dileku rated it really liked it Aug 06, Marcelo Azevedo rated it it was amazing Dec 17, Pedro Delfino rated it it was ok Oct 24, George Daniel Stefan rated it really liked it Nov 17, Troels Thomsen rated it it was amazing Apr 03, Todd Burst rated it really liked it Aug 07, Karen Heck rated it really liked it Apr 22, Ian rated it really liked it Dec 20,
European Universalism: The Rhetoric of Power
Universalismo Europeo/ European Universalism: El Discurso Del Poder/ the Discourse of Power