In this book one of Europe's foremost sociologists offers a profound and accessible overview of the trajectory of European societies, East and West, since the end of World War II. Combining theoretical depth with factual analysis, Göran Therborn addresses the questions that underpin an understanding of the nature of European modernity, including: To what extent is the period 1945-2000 producing fundamental change and what are the areas of continuity? Have the societies of Europe become more similar to others on the globe or more distinctively European? What are the prospects of Europe after decades of postwar change and the end of the Cold War? Issues covered include the division of paid and unpaid labour,

Europe in Modern History

Europe in modern history

The Ambiguous Centre

First of all, even if a clear picture of the advanced pre-modern world, in the sense of ‘modern’ used here, still has to be drawn, there is no doubt, that Europe was the pioneer of modernity and the centre of it. Neither the Islamic, the Black African, the Hindu nor the East Asian Confucian world seems to have discovered the future as a new place, attainable but never visited before. Neither appears to have contained major arguments by mid-second millennium ad and ensuing centuries that the present was superior to the past.1

Europe became the undisputed centre of modernity in terms of knowledge as well as in terms of power. In the course of the seventeenth and ...

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