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Books > History > World > Civilization & Culture > 0853459614
  1. Inventing Western Civilization (Cornerstone Books)
    Inventing Western Civilization (Cornerstone Books)
    Inventing Western Civilization (Cornerstone Books)
    Inventing Western Civilization (Cornerstone Books)
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  2. Inventing Western Civilization (Cornerstone Books)

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (3 reviews)
    Price R514.00

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"In this wonderful book, Thomas Patterson effectively dethrones the concept of 'civilization' as an abstract good, transcending human society."
--Martin Bernal

Drawing on his extensive knowledge of early societies, Thomas C. Patterson shows how class, sexism, and racism have been integral to the appearance of "civilized" societies in Western Europe. He lays out clearly and simply how civilization, with its designs of "civilizing" and "being civilized," has been closely tied to the rise of capitalism in Western Europe and the development of social classes.

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Thomas C. Patterson
Brand: Monthly Review Press
Used Book in Good Condition
Monthly Review Press
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Monthly Review Press
Monthly Review Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

In the short span of 123 pages, Thomas Patterson delivers a stunning and succinct overview of "Western civilization" and its encounters with "savages," different "races," and the Other. He recounts briefly yet movingly the Spanish onslaught of Native Americans, ancient Greek notions of barbarism, the British colonization of Ireland, and more.
But Patterson only gives the briefest sketch of these meetings--he is more concerned with the ever-changing ideologies with which some Europeans justify the wholesale looting, enslavement, murder, and colonization of others around the globe. He portrays conservative and liberal ideas, as well as racial and economic notions. He sketches the involvement of science with racism and colonialism, and he brings to life the deeply classist and sexist hatreds of Europeans elites--hatreds which easily translated into colonialism (inferiors and feminine types around the world "needed" to be ruled).
Remarkably, Patterson manages to find space... Read more
If you truly believe that Western civilization is the worldwide and most complete civilization, while all others are parochial, then this book may shatter your perspective.

In "Inventing Western Civilization," Thomas C. Patterson suggested that "civilized people are obsessed with their uncivilized kin and neighbors--[so] they call them savages, barbarians or the `masses' who lack their polish, refinement, and sophistication; who... have moved en mass into their midst."

Patterson develops his argument and explores the idea of civilization in only five short chapters. He examines the constantly changing "social and political conditions in which civilization is produced and deployed."

The work questions conventional knowledge about the idea of western civilization created by white, male, elites to preserve and perpetuate their power in society.
This book was an assigned book in my Introduction to Cultural Anthropology course. Although the premise of the book has nothing to do with the field of cultural anthro, reading it helped me put the notion of "civilization" and such ideas as "culture" and "race" into perspective. Definitely not a book to take to the beach, but a good read for those looking to expand their knowledge of political institutions.
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