"Inventing Western Civilization"
A review of the book "Inventing Western Civilization" by Thomas Patterson.
# 66256 | 1,550 words | 1 source | MLA | 2006 |
Published on Jun 07, 2006 in English (Analysis) , Literature (Comparative Literature) , Philosophy (History - 20th Century) , Philosophy (History - 19th Century) , Political Science (John Locke)
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This paper reviews the book "Inventing Western Civilization", in which author Thomas Patterson views civilization as an elitist concept that has been used politically, culturally and socially to manipulate the masses. The author explains Patterson's thesis that the West differs from all other civilizations due to its overwhelming impact on virtually all other cultures, including its role in introducing modernization and industrialization. This paper also discusses how Patterson explores the development of social classes and the alienation of the "other". Throughout the paper, Patterson's ideas are compared to numerous scholars and philosophers including John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Sigmund Freud. The author concludes by concurring with Patterson that an international order based on civilizations is the surest safeguard against world war, but noting that this idealistic concept is not borne out in reality.
From the Paper:"Patterson demonstrates how classism, sexism, and racism were as integral to the appearance of "civilized" society in Western Europe as inequality and alienation. He further explores the issue of how civilization, and the process of "being civilized" has been frequently linked to the rise of capitalism in Western Europe, the development of social classes, and the creation of "others" who are distinguished by their socially constructed appearances, behaviors, or essences.
Patterson accordingly believes that every civilization or group at one time or another has considered itself to be God's "chosen" people. For example, The Incas, who Patterson studied for most of his career as an anthropologist, believed that they were the only true humans. This is the type of elitist thought he attributes to all civilizations, both past and present. Thus in Patterson's view, the greatest threat to society is a global clash between Civilization and barbarism."
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