Civilisation

Author(s): Regis Debray

History

American civilisation's dominance over Europe - and what to do about it

'Civilization' -- a hard term to define. But while every society has a distinctive culture, authentic civilizations must offer those they subjugate an attractive way of life. Their imprint outlasts their imperium.

A century ago, Debray argues, there was a European civilization of which America was an outlying culture; but today the relationship is reversed. 'In 1900, an American of taste was a European in exile; in 2000, a trendy European is a frustrated American - or one waiting for a visa'. Characteristic of American civilization is its three overarching fetishes: space, image and happiness. America is a civilization of space and image, whereas Europe was one of time and writing. And its kitsch infantilism blinds itself to the tragic complexities of human life. A measure of America's success is how its 'globish' jargon has so successfully infiltrated European languages.

For Debray, the dominance of American civilization is a historical fait accompli, yet he sees a model for Europe in Vienna after its exclusion from the German Reich. For decades to come, Europe can still offer a rich cultural seedbed. 'Some will call it decadence, others liberation. Why not both?'


Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9781788734035
  • : Verso Books
  • : Verso Books
  • : March 2019
  • : --- length: - '9.25' width: - '6.125' units: - Inches
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 192
  • : Hardback
  • : Regis Debray