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Old 04-10-2012, 10:02 AM
 
Location: USA
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I dislike the term. It's a gross oversimplification especially since it is so often used in a dualistic fashion - the western versus the non-western world. And now we have "north versus south", lumping Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans together in some mythical common cultural context.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xeric View Post
I dislike the term. It's a gross oversimplification especially since it is so often used in a dualistic fashion - the western versus the non-western world. And now we have "north versus south", lumping Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans together in some mythical common cultural context.
Yes I have heard of the global north vs. global south as a euphemism for first and second/third world (it's really based on not much more than saying the "rich world" versus the "poor world" rather than any common cultural context). Often used in academic circles more than anything I think.

I agree that the rich nations shouldn't be treated as having anything in common culturally just by being rich, and the poor nations shouldn't be treated as having anything in common culturally outside of what they have just from being poor.

However, I was wondering about the associations/connotations of what regions people think of as the western world (outside of or not necessarily related to the idea of being rich or poor).

I believe the idea of west vs. the rest first originated from the Age of Discovery and colonialism, when the contrast in technological advancement was most stark. Indeed, in due time, the west vs. the rest gap may fade away.

It's still interesting to see roughly what parts/boundaries of the world pop into people's minds when "western" is brought up, which is why I started this thread.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:34 PM
 
Location: USA
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Fair enough. Since I associate the term mostly with European history (including Greco-Roman and Russian society), I'd say all of Europe, and the areas of Russia, Australia, NZ, and the Americas that are dominated by descendents of Europeans and don't have a substantial indigenous influence (those latter cases would be mixed).
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:05 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xeric View Post
I dislike the term. It's a gross oversimplification especially since it is so often used in a dualistic fashion - the western versus the non-western world. And now we have "north versus south", lumping Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans together in some mythical common cultural context.
I agree. I see 'Western' as similar to the term 'White', as being rather imprecise and often commandeered for political motivations.

The term is also flexible: usually, when you think of 'West' and 'Westerners', I'd say the Anglosphere comes first to mind, along with the prosperous nations of Western Europe. As others have said, Central Europe is occasionally included. I've also heard virtually all developed countries being put under that umbrella: however, I wouldn't include Japan or Taiwan, as they are still seen as countries with a thoroughly eastern culture that embrace western technology.

Singapore is probably an interesting one. I would say it is both culturally and economically the most Western nation in Asia (for anybody that's been). Sure a lot of Asian culture does remain (and thank goodness for that), but the lifestyle of the people, their attitudes to things like dating, pretty American even compared to Japan, let a lone the more traditional Asian nations.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:37 AM
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Location: Western Massachusetts
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When I was younger I assumed "western" and "westerners"; I thought it meant it the western parts of the United States and perhaps Canada as well. Perhaps any state/province in it with the Rocky Mountains and westward to the Pacific.

“We are from the West. The world we suggest should be of a new wild West, a sensuous, evil world, strange and haunting. The path of the sun.”

—Jim Morrison

Calling European countries "western" always seemed odd to me; they're obviously very far to the east.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:31 AM
 
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Any country in the world whose mainstream culture is based on Judeochristian Western European Values.

America
Europe
Parts of Asia (Taiwan, The Phyllipines, etc).
Australia
South Africa
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Originally Posted by Cocoricoco View Post
Any country in the world whose mainstream culture is based on Judeochristian Western European Values.
I use a more specific meaning - since "Western" originally referred to the culture that evolved from the former Western Roman Empire, the most obvious unifying factor is the Roman Catholic Church. If your language and culture derive from a country that is now or once was Catholic, that makes you Western.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:56 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Originally Posted by Stumbler. View Post
Do you think of the countries in the Western Hemisphere, Australia, New Zealand, plus the British Isles and Western Europe?

All of Europe? Historically, regions that have been part of Western Christendom (even if they are secular now)?

Developed countries with European or American influence?

What is your definition of the "Western" world?
This is a great question. Generally, I equate developed nations with "the West", meaning Western Europe, Australia, NZ. (Though I guess that leaves out Japan, also a developed nation.) I don't consider Eastern Europe and Russia to be the West. I've heard locals in SE Europe refer to their region as the "Orient", though at this point, that may be a generational thing. These days, the term "Central Europe" is used for what was called "Eastern Europe" formerly. But Russia is definitely not the West. There's so much Asian influence in the language and culture. Well, about 3/4 of the country is in Asia, so that's no surprise. This can be a hot-potato topic over there, though.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:59 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocoricoco View Post
Any country in the world whose mainstream culture is based on Judeochristian Western European Values.

America
Europe
Parts of Asia (Taiwan, The Phyllipines, etc).
Australia
South Africa
Are you sure about South Africa?
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:58 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Are you sure about South Africa?
White South Africans could be considered 'Westerners', but South Africa is an interesting case. It's still a predominantly native (by population) country with a minority of whites, but the white population is still substantial and has been there for over 400 years, so in that sense parts of it resemble nations like the United States or Australia, being settlement colonies that turned into nation. And then you had Apartheid, which complicated things further.
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