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Old 07-09-2012, 08:03 PM
 
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I know there is a similar thread in "Great Debates" forum, but I'd like to bring it to attention of international community, and to hear whether Europeans have different definition of what "Westerner" is comparably to say Americans for example.
Is it a definition that came in place recently or is it an old one? Has it changed, or is it the same from the time it came to existence?
I'll start with a statement that the "West" and the "Westerner" has the whole array of things when it comes to Russians, who probably coined this term already in the 19th century. ( I might be wrong and they were not the first ones though.)
"West" was something they measured themselves up to; they looked at it for inspiration or disapproval, it always brought all kind of sentiments - from suspicion and resentment, to envy and admiration. It was lesson to learn, or something to evaluate and re-invent in their own way, but whatever it was, Russians usually have pretty good idea - good or bad what "Westerner" is in their mind.
So what's your definition of a "Westerner"?
What does it mean from your point of view?

( Everyone is welcome to participate, the more variety of opinions, the better....)
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Leeds, UK
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I find it odd that some people consider Australia and New Zealand to be part of the 'West'.. could it be that any developed nation that is largely European is considered 'Western'?
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunno what to put here View Post
I find it odd that some people consider Australia and New Zealand to be part of the 'West'.. could it be that any developed nation that is largely European is considered 'Western'?
I see... the football match begins.

( By the way do they even have a football team down there, in Australia?
If not, I see your sentiment - they definitely can't be true Westerners, no way - they are the fake ones)))
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Canada
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I always thought the "West" referred to the cultures of Western and Central Europe and their culturally related colonial offspring. So Australia is Western because so many of its cultural antecendents are in Western Europe, especially the British Isles, and it contributes to and is influenced by the culture of the world's English speaking countries. Australia may not be in Western Europe, but its cultural inheritance largely comes from this region of the world. I think there's also degrees of similarity to culture of Western Europe, which explains the ambiguity as to whether a given country fits this category.
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
I always thought the "West" referred to the cultures of Western and Central Europe and their culturally related colonial offspring. So Australia is Western because so many of its cultural antecendents are in Western Europe, especially the British Isles, and it contributes to and is influenced by the culture of the world's English speaking countries. Australia may not be in Western Europe, but its cultural inheritance largely comes from this region of the world. I think there's also degrees of similarity to culture of Western Europe, which explains the ambiguity as to whether a given country fits this category.
Very well, then couple of questions for you;
If countries in Central America are "culturally related" to Spain/Portugal/Italy - are they considered Western countries as well; if yes/no then why?
And another question - when immigrant families are coming to Australia from all over the world, do you automatically consider these people "Western" since they live in Western country or not?
( Me for example - I live over twenty years in the United States and I have no particular problems with the culture, yet I do not consider myself a "Westerner," since I am coming from Eastern Europe.)

PS. I'd like to ask the same question Europeans and Americans - do you consider people of non-Western European background "westerners" once they start living in your country or not, and I'd like to ask all of you who came ( or whose parents came) from different countries to "Western" countries - do you consider yourself a Westerner, if yes/no - why?
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Old 07-10-2012, 02:14 AM
 
Location: western East Roman Empire
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Actually it goes back to ancient times, the Greeks of city-state and Romans of republican times contrasting themselves with the monarchical empires of the eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia (a theme later used by the political philosophers of western Europe and the Americas during the so-called enlightenment period), until of course they themselves became one.

Then during the latter part of the Roman Empire, western and eastern halves, the dividing line shifted in what today we call the Balkans, Illyricum back then, and to some extent it still is (e.g. Yugoslavia during Cold War and aftermath post-Cold War, even the current Greece crisis can be viewed in that context).

In any case in the modern sense, I relate it to the countries of early industrialization and their spawns, first and foremost France and the UK, also the Netherlands, US, and also Australia and NZ, a bit later also Germany, Italy, and in general those countries west of the iron curtain in the post WWII period (i.e. Europe's second industrial war), plus Japan as an "honorary" member.

At any rate, with the globalization of industrialization and telecommunications the concept is becoming increasingly irrelevant.
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Old 07-10-2012, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Leeds, UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erasure View Post
Very well, then couple of questions for you;
If countries in Central America are "culturally related" to Spain/Portugal/Italy - are they considered Western countries as well; if yes/no then why?
And another question - when immigrant families are coming to Australia from all over the world, do you automatically consider these people "Western" since they live in Western country or not?
( Me for example - I live over twenty years in the United States and I have no particular problems with the culture, yet I do not consider myself a "Westerner," since I am coming from Eastern Europe.)

PS. I'd like to ask the same question Europeans and Americans - do you consider people of non-Western European background "westerners" once they start living in your country or not, and I'd like to ask all of you who came ( or whose parents came) from different countries to "Western" countries - do you consider yourself a Westerner, if yes/no - why?
Central America is largely developing.. they are considerably poorer than Spain, Portugal and Italy. The latter are more democratic too with, I presume, lower levels of corruption (I could be wrong though, Italy is pretty corrupt).

Costa Rica is getting there.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:55 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunno what to put here View Post
Central America is largely developing.. they are considerably poorer than Spain, Portugal and Italy. The latter are more democratic too with, I presume, lower levels of corruption (I could be wrong though, Italy is pretty corrupt).

Costa Rica is getting there.
But erasure raises a good point. If we include Australia & NZ on the basis that they're derived from West European culture, by the same token, wouldn't we have to include all of Latin America? Or does Latin America not count because it's not industrialized, it's still developing? So following that logic, are the criteria for "Western" twofold: derived from W European culture AND industrialized? Is Portugal industrialized?

So, erasure, you said you don't consider yourself a Westerner. So...what are you?
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:08 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
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I don't think any developing country or a country with an emerging economy should be considered western. They just don't go together.
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:15 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
I don't think any developing country or a country with an emerging economy should be considered western. They just don't go together.
OK, so Latin America is out, because it has failed to develop on a par with other European-derived countries.
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