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By J. O'Hagan
West is an idea prevalent in diplomacy, yet we hardly ponder what we suggest by way of the time period. Conceptions of and what the West is range extensively. This booklet examines conceptions of the West drawn from writers from various historic and highbrow contexts, revealing either attention-grabbing parallels and issues of divergence. It additionally displays on implications of those assorted perceptions of ways we comprehend the function of the West, and its interactions with different civilizational identities.
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Extra info for Conceptualizing the west in international relations
It is, however, primarily the ﬁrst sense that pervades the use of culture in world politics today. Ethnic, tribal, religious and civilizational identities are increasingly called upon to distinguish communities and explain their political interaction. This highlights a further complexity in the concept of culture: it is a concept which is applied to the practices and norms of groups formed at many different levels in societies. It can be used to refer to something very local, such as the culture of the local neighbourhood; to something transnational, such as youth culture or pop culture; or to distinguish a particular geographic, linguistic or ethnic community (Parekh, 2000).
In particular, it is inﬂuenced by the contention that conceptualization and representation are meaningful and important dimensions of world The West, Civilizations and International Relations Theory 41 politics. It also contends that the representations of a community are not always consistent, but can demonstrate great diversity. Communities and their representations are therefore often complex. In recent years there has been a growing interest in the contribution which constructivist scholarship can make to our understanding of world politics.
For them, the West encompasses the liberal democracies of Western Europe, North America and Japan, forming a ‘civic union’ that draws on a tradition of ‘industrial democracy’ that precedes and exceeds the Cold War. They understand the peace and stability of the The West, Civilizations and International Relations Theory 27 West as based on the structural integration of their organs of security, economy and society (Deudney and Ikenberry 1993/94: 18). Not only do these authors suggest that the West is a signiﬁcant form of community in world politics, their comments also suggest that it is a community deeply associated with the liberal tradition itself.