The city is home to the headquarters of luxury brands such as Valentino, Gucci, Versace, and Prada. Milan is also home to important European fashion magazines, such as Grazia , Vogue Italia , and Vera. German automotive design has a global reputation for excellence and prestige. Automobile companies such as BMW, Mercedes, and Audi are known throughout the world for creating cars with dynamic designs and an engaging driving experience.
The country is also home to a number of outstanding schools for automotive design, such as the Hochschule Esslingen and Hochschule Pforzheim. Political geography is the internal and external relationships between government s, citizens, and territories. Early Europeans, in fact, shaped global ideas of citizenship and government. These ideas have been tested during times of peace and military conflict, and continue to be redefined today. Described as the birthplace of democracy , ancient Greece revolved around the polis , or city-state.
City-states were unique in that they were governed not by a hereditary ruler, but by a political body that represented its citizens. This idea of citizenship—of being connected to and having a voice in your community—became the basic building block of democracy. Philosophers and politicians have used these writings to uphold and defend the democratic tradition ever since. Roman civilization had a major influence on Western concepts of law, government, and the military.
At its largest, Rome controlled approximately 6.
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The Roman approach to conquering and controlling territory is often considered to be the basis of Western imperialism. Imperialism is a policy that has been used throughout history, most notably by European powers and the United States.
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Other political institutions of Rome persist throughout Europe and former European colonies. World War I left about 16 million people dead.
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By the end of the war, the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires collapsed and broke into a dozen separate nations. Border s between existing nations, such as Poland and Russia, were entirely redrawn. World War II left about 43 million Europeans dead, including about 6 million who died in the Holocaust. The Holocaust was the mass murder of Jews under the Nazi regime.
World War II also left more than 40 million refugee s, contributed to the independence of European colonies throughout the world, and devastate d the urban infrastructure of many European cities. The relationship between the United States, with a free-market economy , and the Soviet Union, with a communist economy , was known as the Cold War.
The Iron Curtain was an ideological boundary that divided Europe into two blocs—Western countries influenced by the United States, and Eastern countries influenced by the Soviet Union. International economic and military organizations developed on either side of the Iron Curtain. The United States and the Soviet Union built up huge nuclear arsenal s, with many missiles aimed at targets throughout Europe.
The Iron Curtain took on the physical shape of border defenses, walls, and limited diplomacy. The nation of Germany was divided in two. In fact, the most famous symbol of the Iron Curtain was the Berlin Wall , which divided the East German city of Berlin into western and eastern-controlled parts. The economic and political demise of the Soviet Union led to the end of the Iron Curtain in the late s. During this time, a number of anti-communist revolution s swept central and eastern Europe.
These revolutions eventually lead to the end of the Cold War, symbolized by the falling of the Berlin Wall in Contemporary Issues Europe is now broadly defined in the context of the European Union EU , an economic and political body officially created by the Maastricht Treaty in The EU works to create a unified structure for social, environmental, military, and economic policies of its member states.
Today, the European Union is composed of 27 member states, with new members mainly coming from central and eastern Europe. The financial and diplomatic success of the EU has led to its rapid growth across the continent. The euro is one of the strongest currencies in the world. The euro is the second-most popular currency behind the American dollar and is used daily by more than million people.
The EU accepts few candidates: member states must maintain a stable, democratic form of government, a free-market economy, and commitment to the rule of law. The rapid growth of the European Union, however, has caused a number of administrative and political tensions. Strict EU regulations place a heavy burden on developing countries to compete with their more developed neighbors.
The global financial crisis , which began around , has caused these tensions to elevate dramatically. The financial crisis is defined by debt and high unemployment.
These countries included Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal. This rescue package has caused tensions to rise between economically competitive countries and the indebted countries that they are helping to rescue. Indebted countries must now deal with strict budget s and declining incomes while more financially stable countries are forcing taxpayer s to help fund the financial rescue. The status of immigrants is also a source of tension and debate in Europe. Historically, Europe has been a center of immigration.
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The European Union has established the Schengen Area—a zone where Europeans can travel from country to country without having to show their passports. Some critics argue these attitudes are xenophobic. Xenophobia is an intense dislike or fear of people from other places or cultures. Two events demonstrate this debate. In , the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons featuring Islam ic subjects. The political cartoons sought to engage in the debate surrounding Muslim extremism.
Many Muslim organizations, however, saw the cartoons as bigoted , racist, and insulting. Protests developed across the Muslim world, and demonstrators set fire to Danish embassies in Lebanon, Iran, and Syria. The debate surrounding the cartoons also intensified strained relations between the Islamic world and the West. In , the French government dismantled illegal immigrant camps throughout France. These camps were mostly populated by Roma, also called Gypsies. Roma are a people and culture native to central and eastern Europe.
In the face of an economic crisis, EU citizens of poorer member countries, such as the Roma of Bulgaria and Romania, often migrate to more developed EU countries in search of work. Developed countries, however, are also facing economic challenges. These nations do not feel an obligation to accept illegal immigrants, seeing them as both a threat and a burden. Supporters of the crackdown want to stop illegal immigration. Critics argue the move was racist.
Europe is often seen as a world leader in environmentally friendly technologies and legislation. As part of an international agreement signed at the conference, all 27 member states of the European Union agreed to reduce carbon emission s by 20 percent by from levels. In fact, many developing nations argued that the Copenhagen Accord was drafted by a small group of powerful countries and unfairly disadvantages poorer countries, many of which are expected to suffer the worst effects of climate change. The overall population of Europe is set to drop from roughly million to million by The proportion of people older than 65 will grow from 16 percent to 28 percent.
These projected changes will have two major effects: There will be a smaller work force to create a dynamic and industrious economy, and governments and citizens will have to care for more elderly people. These changes will affect different regions of Europe in different ways. A study completed by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development found that Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, western Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, Austria, and France have the best prospects of supporting vibrant and economically successful societies.
Many of the most socially and economically powerful elements of these societies will be led by immigrants. Developing countries, such as those in eastern and southern Europe, are expected to bear the worst of the depopulation trend. Among the struggling economies that may suffer from carbon emission limits are Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldova.
Enacting regional social policies and economic legislation, especially through bodies like the European Union, may help curb that trend. Europe has a long history of human development and is considered the birthplace of Western Civilization. Most Renewable Electricity Produced Iceland Largest Watershed Volga River 1. Also called a managed economy. Also called the Shoah and the Final Solution.
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In classical civilizations, the historical definition circumscribes the unit of analysis, the structural definition explains what holds it together. But will what has been holding continue to hold? Can a civilization endure without a controlling principle? This issue may become relevant in all advanced industrial parts of the world, East Asia as well as the West.
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Consistently, with his treatment of the classical civilizations, Weber might answer that a present-day civilization can retain its identity as the conjunction of a particular and expandable set of ideologies with a particular and expandable set of groups and institutions. The Hellenistic world seems to have been capable of incorporating any religion present in its environment, but it subjected the Oriental religions to an interpretatio graeca , and it operated within a shared set of institutions — the royal cult, the cities, religious pluralism.
The new prophecies may energize existing civilizations, or fragment them, or establish new cultural complexes transcending the boundaries between traditional civilizations. Weber offers guidance on these issues only by insisting that we always look into the group and institutional sources and uses of these rebirths of tradition and prophetic innovations. Louis Dumont may have provided the most useful intellectual categories for thinking about the manner in which civilizational and national identities will maintain themselves in a globalizing world.
He suggests that each modernizing culture evolves its own version of the modern ideology by synthesizing elements of its traditional holism with components of the individualistic ethic emanating from its historical centres — France and England. This conception is based, however, mainly on evidence from the peripheral European countries — Germany, Russia — and it is uncertain whether the process will proceed to the same extent beyond the confines of the extended West rooted in Judeo-Christian traditions.
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