The Narrative of the Occident

The Narrative of the Occident

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Civilizations -narrate themselves- in order to establish legitimacy, succeed against others, portray their own merits to their best advantage. The results express societal dynamics, yet also have a retroactive effect and decisively influence the self-conceptions of the -initiating societies-. Political philosophies, interpretations of history and social perceptions of artistic achievements all contribute to these narratives. The dignified components, however, are by no means the sole or even the most important ones. Distinction in material culture (technological proficiency, popular art forms, etc.) or economic adroitness are even more consequential. The occidental narrative has been badly vacillating lately. Its severe crisis - due in part to a lack of collective self-confidence, but also to disagreements between its main strands - merits a meticulous analysis of a multitude of criteria. The resulting critique is embedded in reflections on a general theory of narrativity.qAn Essay on Its Present State Georg Schmid ... proper interest but in that of society as a whole to develop specific guidelines for social life and make the rest of the population accept them. ... (In a kind of play on words, one could say: values to die for.87) There are conceivably two types of values, not essentially in regard to ... And my position is all the weaker because those postulations at the moment are not voguish at all. ... But the present demonstration aims at something different.

Title:The Narrative of the Occident
Author:Georg Schmid
Publisher:Peter Lang - 2009


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