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Conservatism is one of the major intellectual and political strains of thought in Western culture over the last two centuries. Originating as something of a ‘reaction’ to the radical, liberal and, later, socialist movements during the early period of industrialisation in Britain and Europe, conservatism remains a powerful ideological force in Western societies today. We explore

in Understanding political ideas and movements
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Entanglements and ambiguities

discipline was implicitly founded on broad disjunctions between Western societies grounded in history and reason, on the one hand, and non-Western cultures held in place by myth and ritual, on the other. 2 Such premises came to underlie particular protocols of salvage anthropology, also shoring up formative dispositions of the ethnographic enterprise. These procedures and orientations have been

in Subjects of modernity
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degree a free society depends not on constitutional arrangements but on widely shared cultural values and moral principles. For some, the twenty-first century has already witnessed the decisive victory of freedom. Others are less sanguine. They question whether in Western culture liberty is confused with licence. They point to the essential triviality of so many of our so-called ‘choices’. Others aver

in Understanding political ideas and movements
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of liberal capitalism in most countries, some liberals were moved to declare that liberalism and liberal values were now the only future for mankind’s development. However, although liberalism has in many ways been the defining political ideology of the Western world for nearly three centuries, this very ubiquity makes it difficult to separate out from Western culture a distinctive ‘liberal’ identity. Many

in Understanding political ideas and movements
Jürgen Habermas and the European left

‘the notion that Islam engenders a world view that is fundamentally incompatible with and inferior to Western culture’. 36 The sociologist Goran Therborn wrote of the ‘complete delegitimation of anti-Semitism in mainstream discourse after the discovery of the horrors of Auschwitz and the complete defeat of Nazi Germany’ and maintained that the charge ‘anti-Semite’ has become a ‘ Totschlagwort , a killing word … a lethal weapon in public polemics’. Maintaining

in Antisemitism and the left