Occident - Latin the '' occidere '', to fall - indicates areas located in direction of the setting Sun, that is to say towards the cardinal Point western. In accordance with typographical conventions which require a capital under the terms of geographical orientation, it takes a capital letter then.
Several countries and areas located at the west of a geographical unit have the word “Occident” or the “Western” adjective in their name:
- the the Western Sahara;
- the Roman Empire of Occident;
- the Virginia-Western ;
- the West Germany;
- Western Empire, another name of the Carolingian Empire.
In the current geographical representations, the Occident often indicates the Western civilization , in opposition to the countries of Orient (the Middle East, the Middle East, the Far East), and in Africa. The countries of South America are not always included.
Except the geography, the most understanding way to differentiate the Occident from other modern civilizations comes from the idea of the religious base of this civilization, namely the Christianisme. The generally recognized nations as being Western always comprise companies where, in addition to the Athéisme, the Christian religion is dominant as much culturally than numerically. It goes from there thus from the representation of Europe, as being a whole of basically Christian nations, and coming historically from the Roman Empire and the areas of the North of Europe converted more tardily. By extension, the nations resulting from the European colonies of America and Oceania are they also regarded as being “Western”, mainly because of their cultural bases and monks which take source in Christian colonial Europe, and of their settlement primarily resulting from European immigrants.
Age of the White?
Another prospect with the representation of the Occident east simply to define it as being the civilization of the “White ” or “the white Man”, as called by native-born people of the European colonies. This separation between civilizations is at the origin of the ideology legitimating the Colonialisme 19th century, supposed to answer a “civilizing mission. ” This exogenic design of Western civilization would define the Occident as being the international big space which is dominated by the White, at the sociological and political level. This prospect can on the other hand comprise certain problems if one regards the Latin America as belonging to the Occident, since a good part of the Latin-American companies are not mainly “white” as much in their culture that in their demography, though the domination of an elite of European or North-American origin was visible in several of these countries, until their political turn generalized on the left.
But it is necessary to keep in mind that this expression remains before a whole concept having sometimes political aimings: in the fight vis-a-vis the Terrorism, the partisans of George Bush Jr. justifies for example an alliance while being based on the Occident. Or, during the consultations carrying on the development of the European constitution, of many countries invited to insert the idea that the old continent had “Christian roots”. However, this passage was not adopted because certain countries, whose France, wished to point out the laic character certain European countries. Moreover, the idea of Occident is not reduced to a definition by the religious practice: certain countries in the middle of Europe are traditionally Musulman S (Bosnia-Herzégovine and Kosovo). The posterior historical events with the Moyen-âge change thus gives it, returning thus sometimes, the concept of insufficiently precise Occident.
The current meaning of the word “Occident” in the contemporary press and the literature is mainly a word of the Cold war. One then called “the Occident”, the Western Europe and his Anglo-Saxon allies “”, within the framework of a condominium euro-American resulting from the agreements of Yalta, in opposition to the “Eastern bloc”, namely the Soviet Russia and the countries of his zone of influence, as well as the communist China of Mao Tsé Toung. It was a system comparable with the world in three antagonistic blocks envisaged by George Orwell in 1984 . Since the end of this international system to the relatively marked out operating process, the significance of the word “Occident” tends to take again its direction of the 19th century, almost that which heard Rene Guénon, not without involving some readjustments.
Indeed if, when one meets expressions such as: “the Westerners insist for… ”, or “the reaction of the Occident will be of…”, the term hardly creates ambiguity, the search for an exact definition of the word underlines on the other hand its inaccuracy. For example, in which category has to be classified the Japan? From a geopolitical, economic and military point of view, Japan is often compared to the Occident; however it is obvious that it is about a perfect misinterpretation, Japan being without least ambiguity a completely Asian country. Nevertheless it is also a country of the Far East which developed on the Western model and adopted the values and the vision of the world of it. The affiliation of Japan in the Occident is thus only the taking into account of this fact. A contrario the Central European countries and the East, which from now on are regarded as Western countries with the clean direction, was it has there yet only one score of years, in the phraseology of the time, the “Eastern European countries”. However which State is more European than the Czech Republic, for example?
The word Occident thus tends from now on less to indicate a surface geographical that a cultural sphere, even a system of beliefs, resulting from Europe of the Lumières, where certain values are collectively allowed, which is adopted, copied, or is relativized, criticized, even fought by those which are located themselves apart from the Occident. One can thus say that the Occident is at the same time defined by those which are claimed some and by those which reject it, were they themselves of the Westerners in opposition with their own civilization. Thus defined, the term “Occident” is the subject of relative a Consensus.
If one can dispute that the Occident spreads a model of civilization, a way of living and a vision of the world superiors with the others, it is a fact that those exist. For example, one can say that the strict equality man-women is a postulate of Western origin, was it extremely recent in his integral application in Occident even. This idea did not have course, with some exceptions, in any traditional company. What points out another frequent confusion in the use of the word Occident: this word is often used to indicate, rather than the Occident, modern Western civilization.
Another current meaning of the Occident term recovers, more prosaically, the developed countries, or even, to be more precise, the countries of OECD. From this point of view, the Occident includes the rich countries with the determining economic weight. The word Occident is less ambiguity still owing to the fact that, with little thing close, its cultural sphere of influence and the countries with the economic weight most extremely are recut almost exactly. The word Occident has thus, there still, a relatively precise direction in a geopolitical, economic or military context.
Finally the thorny question of the religious areas of influence arises, which also take part it in the definition of Western civilization.
The Occident is mainly Christian if one restricts oneself to define the Christianisme by his zone of traditional influence, medieval initially, colonial then. But the situation tends to become complicated precisely because one of the features characteristic of modern Western civilization is the Athéisme, or more precisely the religious indifferentism. From this point of view, confrontation current, larval, between the Occident and the Muslim world is less one shock between Christianity and Islam, that a friction between a Western civilization where the religion tends, like pointed out Marcel Gauchet, to be more considered only on the mode of the private belief, even of derision, and of the traditional, poor companies in addition, or the monk remains structuring on all the levels of the social organization. Let us not forget that the values and the lifestyles conveyed by the Occident are not only subversive for the companies of Moslem tradition, but also for the India or the traditional China, which, although pretense to follow the example of Japan in the medium term, see their family structures and social constraints with accelerated changes. However, one can observe a return of religious fundamentalism in certain countries of the western world; this one is particularly powerful with the the United States, where it infiltrates the political circles and intellectuals (see the debate on the " Intelligent design " in the universities).
See also: Post-colonialism
In front of the “hatred of the Occident” posted by Ahmadinejad and Bin Laden, both introduced as being the “Enemies of the Occident” by the media of masses and the conservative governments Western, the question of “Western pride” is blamed. Pascal Bruckner works out on this “unfolding of identity”: the Occident feels guilty to have controlled the remainder of the world and, in parallel, it is only civilization to make its self-criticism. It is besides of the Occident that the Anthropologie is resulting.
Always according to Bruckner, “the opening to the Other” is also specific to the Occident. However, in Shock of civilizations , Samuel Huntington writes that to reject the occidentalism for the Multiculturalisme or the Universalisme is contradictory. The cultural and political concepts of freedom are of Western origin. In addition, the History showed that no coherent company perduré while being based on any civilization in particular. Francis Fukuyama, in its test the End of the history and the Last Man is in dissension and quotes the example of the linguistic laws Québécois like compromise with the multiculturalism.
|Random links:||Rolled consonant voiced dental consonant | Ecclesiastical province of Lyon | Moscoviense pond | Marco Zanotti | Daïras of Wilaya de Tizi-Ouzou | Feldspath|