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The Idea of Civilization and the Making of the Global Order$
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Andrew Linklater

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529213874

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529213874.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Introduction: A Process-Sociological Approach to Understanding Civilization

Introduction: A Process-Sociological Approach to Understanding Civilization

(p.1) Introduction: A Process-Sociological Approach to Understanding Civilization
The Idea of Civilization and the Making of the Global Order

Andrew Linklater

Policy Press

The introduction notes that the concept of civilization first rose to prominence in the late eighteenth century French court society and then spread outward to non-European elites and downward to the rest of society. The idea became central to European self- understandings and to the sense of differentiation from the rest of the world. The dominant notions of civilization shaped the global order through colonial offensives to transform supposedly backward societies. Analyses of the civilizational dimensions of the global order have largely ignored Elias’s explanation of the European civilizing process. The introduction explains its contribution to the classical sociological tradition and discusses its relationship with postcolonial investigations and English School studies of international society. Core elements of the method of Eliasian process sociology are explained including the connection between detached social inquiry and the secular humanism that underpinned Elias’s analysis of human societies and their inter-relations.

Keywords:   Civilizational discourse, globalization, process-sociological method, postcolonialism, international society

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