From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"And it is true also that the very posture of self-indictment, of remorse in which much of educated Western sensibility now finds itself is again a culturally specific phenomenon. What other races have turned in penitence to those whom they once enslaved, what other civilizations have morally indicted the brilliance of their own past? The reflex of self-scrutiny in the name of ethical absolutes is, once more, a characteristically Western, post-Voltairian act." --In Bluebeard's Castle (1971) by George Steiner
"We all know what is meant by the term 'international community', don't we? It's the west, of course, nothing more, nothing less. Using the term 'international community' is a way of dignifying the west, of globalising it, of making it sound more respectable, more neutral and high-faluting."--Martin Jacques, The Guardian, "What the hell is the international community?", Thu 24 Aug 2006
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident (from Latin: occidens "sunset, West"; as contrasted with the Orient), is a term referring to different nations depending on the context. There are many accepted definitions about what all they have in common.
The concept of the Western part of the earth has its roots in Greco-Roman civilization in Europe, and the advent of Christianity. In the modern era, Western culture has been heavily influenced by the traditions of the Renaissance, Protestant Reformation, Age of Enlightenment—and shaped by the expansive colonialism of the 15th-20th centuries. Before the Cold War era, the traditional Western viewpoint identified Western Civilization with the Western Christian (Catholic-Protestant) countries and culture. Its political usage was temporarily changed by the antagonism during the Cold War in the mid-to-late 20th Century (1947–1991).
The term originally had a literal geographic meaning. It contrasted Europe with the linked cultures and civilizations of the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and remote Far East, which early-modern Europeans saw as the East. Today, this has little geographic relevance, since the concept of West expanded to include the former European colonies in the Americas, Russia expands to Northern Asia and Australia and New Zealand are part of Oceania.
In the contemporary cultural meaning, the phrase "Western world" includes Europe, as well as many countries of European colonial origin with substantial European ancestral populations in the Americas and Oceania.
- Anti-Western sentiment
- Developed countries
- Golden billion
- Hispanic world
- Indo-European languages
- Western culture
- Western mystery tradition
- Western philosophy