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    Perspectives on the White Man's Burden

    A brief overview of Perspectives on the White Man's Burden

    Perspectives on the White Man's Burden

    Imperialism was not only economic and political, but also cultural. European countries sought to colonize and plunder the wealth from regions with large populations such as Africa and Asia.

    Europeans often held racist ideas of their own superiority to those in foreign lands. Because those in Asia, Africa, and parts of the Americas lived different lives, Europeans felt that it was their duty to “civilize” them into western culture and society. This belief was strengthened with literary works such as “The White Man’s Burden” written in 1899 by British novelist and poet Rudyard Kipling.

    Kipling was a white supremascist and wrote “The White Man’s Burden” urging the United States to take up the “burden” of civilizing “savage peoples” alongside other European powers. It was written in support of America’s attempt to annex the Philippines. The phrase “White Man’s Burden” caught on with many imperialists to justify the policy as noble. Many politicians used the phrase and its views as the basis for their imperialist and racist policies.

    Supporters of imperialism in Europe and the United States believed that imperialism helped their colonies because it brought new technology and growth. Mother countries would often build schools, railroads, and improved communication, along with new medicines and treatments. However, these came at a huge price for the people of these regions. In order to fully get along in society, indigenous populations had to assimilate to the colonists’ culture and many times abandon their own.

    Anti-imperialists condemned this view and felt that it was racist and condescending toward people from other countries. The famous American writer Mark Twain, for example, wrote a response, "To the Person Sitting in Darkness" that was critical of imperialism and mocked those who thought they were more “enlightened” than the indigenous people of these areas.

    Native people in the countries that were being colonized did not agree with imperialist policies. In many cases they resisted through uprisings and rebellions and felt that they should be free to govern themselves.


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    स्रोत : www.studentsofhistory.com

    Civilizing mission

    Civilizing mission

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    The civilizing mission or civilising mission (Spanish: ; Portuguese: ; French: ) is a political rationale for military intervention and for colonization purporting to facilitate the Westernization of indigenous peoples, especially in the period from the 15th to the 20th centuries. As a principle of European culture, the term was most prominently used in justifying French[1] colonialism in the late-15th to mid-20th centuries. The civilizing mission was the cultural justification for the colonial exploitation of French Algeria, French West Africa, French Indochina, Portuguese Angola and Portuguese Guinea, Portuguese Mozambique and Portuguese Timor, among other colonies. The civilizing mission also was a popular justification for the British,[2] German, [3][4] and American[] colonialism. In the Russian Empire, it was also associated with the Russian conquest of Central Asia and the Russification of that region.[5][6][7] The western European colonial powers claimed that, as Christian nations, they were duty-bound to disseminate Western civilization to what Europeans perceived as the heathen and primitive cultures of the Eastern world.[]


    1 Origins 2 By state

    2.1 British colonialism

    2.2 French colonialism

    2.3 Dutch colonialism

    2.4 American colonialism

    2.5 Portuguese colonialism

    2.5.1 2.5.2 Colonial wars

    2.5.3 Colonial Brazil

    2.6 Chile 3 See also 4 Sources 5 References 6 External links


    The civilizing mission originated in the Christian theology of the Middle Ages, when European theologists applied the metaphor of human development to misrepresent social change as a law of Nature. In the eighteenth century, Europeans saw history as a linear, inevitable, and perpetual process of sociocultural evolution led by capitalist Western Europe.[8] From the reductionist cultural perspective of Western Europe, colonialists saw non-Europeans as "backward nations", as people intrinsically incapable of socioeconomic progress. In France, the philosopher Marquis de Condorcet formally postulated the existence of a European "holy duty" to help non-European peoples "which, to civilize themselves, wait only to receive the means from us, to find brothers among Europeans, and to become their friends and disciples".[9]

    Modernization theory — progressive transition from traditional, premodern society to modern, industrialized society — proposed that the economic self-development of a non-European people is incompatible with retaining their culture (mores, traditions, customs).[10] That breaking from their old culture is prerequisite to socioeconomic progress, by way of practical revolutions in the social, cultural, and religious institutions, which would change their collective psychology and mental attitude, philosophy and way of life, or to disappear.[11]: 302 [12]: 72–73 [13] Therefore, development criticism sees economic development as a continuation of the civilizing mission. That to become civilized invariably means "to become more "like us", therefore "civilizing a people" means that every society must become a capitalist consumer society, by renouncing their native culture to become Westernized.[14] of land and people has been a similarly employed concept, used instead of in german speaking colonial contexts to press for colonization and cultural imperialism through "extensive cultivation" and "culture work".[15]

    According to Jennifer Pitts, there was considerable skepticism among French and British liberal thinkers (such as Adam Smith, Jeremey Bentham, Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, Denis Diderot and Marquis de Condorcet) about empire in the 1780s. However, by the mid-19th century, liberal thinkers such as John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville endorsed empire on the basis of the civilizing mission.[16]

    By state[edit]

    British colonialism[edit]

    Although the British did not invent the term, the notion of a "civilizing mission" was equally important for them to justify colonialism. It was used to legitimatize British rule over the colonized, especially when the colonial enterprise was not very profitable.[2]

    The idea that the British were bringing civilization to the uncivilized areas of the world is famously expressed in Rudyard Kipling's poem .

    स्रोत : en.wikipedia.org

    The ‘Standard of Civilisation’ in World Politics

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    The ‘Standard of Civilisation’ in World Politics[1]

    Andrew Linklater

    aberystwyth university

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    Volume 5, Issue 2: Social Character, Historical Processes, July 2016

    Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.11217607.0005.205


    Abstract: The ‘standard of civilisation’ was used by international lawyers in the nineteenth century to defend the Europeans’ right to colonise and control non-European societies. The concept is one illustration of how the European civilising process influenced world politics, and process sociology helps to explain its development. The analysis of the ‘standard of civilisation’ draws attention to the need to broaden process-sociological analysis to explain how state formation and conceptions of civilisation, the rise of overseas empires and the emergence of the international society of states shaped long-term patterns of social and political change that have affected humanity as a whole.

    Keywords: Civilising offensives, colonialism, established-outsider relations, global interconnectedness, international society

    The following discussion draws on an important summation of the method of process sociology to offer a new interpretation of the ‘standard of civilisation’ in world politics. International lawyers invented the ‘standard’ in the nineteenth century to defend the Europeans’ right to colonise and in other ways control non-European societies. Its core principles stated that the imperial powers had an unconditional entitlement as part of their self-appointed ‘civilising mission’ to stand in judgement of other forms of life and to determine their future trajectory of development (Gong 1984; Suzuki 2009).The discourse is one illustration of how the European ‘civilising process’ influenced attitudes to imperial rule and international society. Elias’s explanation of how Europeans came to regard themselves as uniquely civilised is a crucial but ignored point of departure for efforts to understand the political significance of the ‘standard of civilisation’. However, there is more to the following investigation than drawing on process sociology to explain a particular imperialist ‘civilising’ discourse. Reflections on the ‘standard’ inevitably lead to the identification of important shortcomings in Elias’s analysis of the European ‘civilising process’ – specifically, the neglect of how state-building and the idea of civilisation, the emergence of the overseas empires and the rise of the international society of states were inter-related parts of one larger social and political development that has shaped increasingly interconnected societies over the last five centuries. The internationalisation of the ‘standard of civilisation’ was a central dimension of global transformations that continue to this day.

    There is one point to add before summarising the remaining sections of this article. The relative invisibility of process sociology in several spheres of social-scientific inquiry has been highlighted in many publications. The difficulty of locating the approach in the larger literature is one reason for the continuing lack of engagement with Elias’s writings and one explanation of the recurrent failure to appreciate how process sociology can enrich many discussions across the social sciences and humanities. Accessibility to the main works can be partly explained by Elias’s characteristic reluctance to combine his investigation of ‘processes of civilisation’ with detailed, critical commentaries on the leading or fashionable perspectives of the day. For scholars who encounter Elias’s work for the first time – here the author speaks from personal experience – it is hard to place his writings in relation to established schools of thought, let alone determine what they contribute to current scholarly debates and discussions.

    Certainly, various studies of Elias’s thought have lowered the barriers to those who approach his writings for the first time (Mennell 1998; also Fletcher 1997; Van Krieken 1998). But there is more to be said. The application of Elias’s writings to contemporary inquiries in the social sciences has also been limited because of the difficulty that the novice may have in understanding the core method or working principles of process sociology. Elias (2012 [1939] : 7–8) maintained that his analysis of the ‘European civilising process’ did not stem from a prior position on the methodology of the social sciences. Even so, recent scholarship has explained in detail the central features of the processual standpoint and clarified where Elias’s writings stand in relation to more familiar perspectives in sociology and social theory (see, in particular, Dunning and Hughes 2013).The challenge is to harness the results of those inquiries to advance specific areas of investigation in other disciplines including the study of international relations where new lines of inquiry can build on Elias’s highly-sophisticated understanding of the complex interdependencies between domestic and international politics which broke with the ‘methodological nationalism’ of so much social-scientific analysis in the period in which he was writing (for further discussion see Human Figurations, 2012 (2) 1).

    The following discussion of the ‘standard of civilisation’ is undertaken in that spirit – more specifically, in the light of Elias’s analysis of the impact of relations between ‘survival units’ on the development of human societies (Kaspersen and Gabriel 2008). The first task is to refer to some working principles of process sociology which will be used here to cast light on imperial doctrines that provided a defence of the right to govern and remake colonised or semi-colonised peoples. A second task is to explain how the ‘standard’ became central to the ‘civilised’ self-images of colonial powers that dominated international society for several centuries. It was at the heart of European images of collective superiority that influenced the nineteenth-century, secondary imperialism of powers such as Russia and Japan that attempted to join the exalted ranks of the society of states by demonstrating their ability to contribute to a global ‘civilising mission’. The internationalisation of the European ‘civilising process’ was shaped by established–outsider dynamics that were evident in relations between the great powers as well as in their collective interaction with so-called backward humanity. Not that the ‘standard of civilisation’ should be regarded as a symbol of international society in the period when colonial rule was at its height; not that it should be assumed that it expired as the former colonies entered that global figuration as formally equal sovereign states in their own right. The final aim of this investigation is to provide some illustrations of how ‘standards of civilisation’ endure in the contemporary international order in the shape of revised perspectives on the right to transform non-Western societies as well as in numerous government statements about the legitimacy of force to combat Islamist terrorism.

    स्रोत : quod.lib.umich.edu

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