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What Does "West" Mean?  
User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 20
Posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3165 times:
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We hear the words "west" or "western world" in the media and other places. But what does "west" mean? most people refer it to Europe or north america as the "western world". But if you live in north america, then the west would be countries like Japan, China or other countries in Asia. And europe would be to the east of the US. Or the Australians would say the west is a place like South africa or another country to the west of Oz.

I think the term "west" is incorrect and outdated.

Rgds
Arsenal@LHR


In Arsene we trust!!
22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineEal401 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3105 times:

So what do you suggest to replace it?

Does it stem from the days of the Iron Curtain, i.e. all the good countries were "west" of the IC, all the bad countries "east?"

Still applies in Lancashire.

West Lancs =  Big thumbs up

East Lancs =  Acting devilish


User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 20
Reply 2, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3100 times:
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No, i'm not saying let's replace with it, i just feel this word is a bit incorrect, and it's more to do with political situations than a geographical term.

Arsenal@LHR



In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineMcdougald From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3102 times:

These labels have never been clearly defined. 'West' is as vague as the odd 'North' and 'South' labels that started to appear in the '70s: New Zealand suddenly became a 'northern' country, while Mongolia became a 'southern' one.

A better way would be to sort countries according to measurable factors: median personal/household income according to purchasing power, average life expectancy and so on.


User currently offlineMatt86 From Germany, joined May 2001, 254 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3092 times:

I think the term "west" is correct...
If you take the 0°W/E Longitude as the middle of the map (that's normal, or) , the US and the EU are on the west side of the former CCCP and the former CCCP is in the east of the US and the EU.


User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 20
Reply 5, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3088 times:
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Good point Matt86, but still, wouldn't you say the west is Japan and other countries in asia if u happen to live in north america?

Rgds
Arsenal@LHR



In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineTurin_airport From Italy, joined Oct 2001, 278 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3079 times:

The definition comes from the european division after WW2.
All the western european countries (from UK and Portugal to Italy and West Germany) were under U.S. influence, while the eastern european countries were under U.S.S.R. influence.
So U.S. and their european allies were the western world (aka NATO countries), the others were the eastern world (aka Warsaw Pact countries).
Japan was a western country because it was under the U.S. influence, while China, Yugoslavia and few others were called "non-aligned countries".

Hope it helps.

T_a


User currently offlinePROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5632 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3070 times:

Today the "West" is not really a geographical term. It includes countries with developed economies, reasonably fair distributions of wealth, high levels of education and literacy, and democratic governments. Countries that belong to the "West" are the central and western European nations, especially those in the EU; the United States; Canada; Australia; New Zealand; and Japan. Questionable cases include Poland; the Czech Republic; Solvakia; Hungary; Solvenia; Croatia; Israel; Singapore; and South Korea.


"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
User currently offlineHurricane From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 1443 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3050 times:

Trust me on this: It comes from the western hemisphere. Western culture meant American culture. Gradually, as European and American culture grew alike, the term 'Western Civilization' grew to mean American/Canadian and European culture and lifestyle.

User currently offlineSeb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11533 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3038 times:

I live only about 70 miles from the 'end' of the west and I still think of Japan and China as the East. Marco Polo journeyed to the east hundreds of years ago. I think the term that needs to be corrected, especially in the States is 'Orient.' Many people here use Oreint to describe China or Japan while I think of the Orient as Romania and Bulgaria. I mean, where does the Oreint Express go? China?


Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineHepkat From Austria, joined Aug 2000, 2341 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3030 times:

Guys, I believe when we say West, we mean principally North America and Western Europe. "West" defines a certain lifestyle, culture and ideology, i.e., democracy, capitalism (for the most part) and freedom of thought and religion. It's a combination of geography and lifestyle. This means Mexico is a western country. So are Caribbean countries, obviously the U.S., Canada and all of Western Europe. South America's questionable, meaning I've not really seen those countries referred to as "western" in the press, but they very well could be.

Africa and Asia are definitely not western countries, because the culture and lifestyle are completely different, without judging. However, countries can be "westernized", or strongly influenced by the west, like Japan and much of Asia, while still retaining some aspects of their culture.

As for Australia and New Zealand, I don't believe they are classified as western countries per se, but they definitely have a western culture and way of life. I'm really not sure what the correct category for this region is.


User currently offlineNoise From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1768 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3026 times:

Matt86, you are correct. Also, in ancient times, the Easterners refered the white man as the man from the west, that's why Europe is also considered "west" today.

User currently offlineJessman From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1506 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3000 times:

East and West are much older than WWII, It is basically differentiation between the European(Western) cultures and the cultures of Asia(Far East) and the "Middle East".
They are generally recognized by their pasts.
The Greek and Roman empires are thought to be the basis of Western civilization. Greece and Rome generally don't mean much to the "Eastern" cultures because they were not fundamental in the least.
I don't know enough about middle eastern and far eastern cultures to give their basis, but "Middle East" is now generally identified by arabs, who are predominantly Muslim. "Far east" Tends to deal with asian peoples.
Also, this mind set leaves out large parts of the world. Africa is "African" Americans are only counted as western culture because the Europeans destroyed what would have been called "Native American" culture.


User currently offlineMetwrench From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 750 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2998 times:

I agree with Seb146,

When Europeans started exploring, they went either east or west. The "America's" were colonized by these cultures and therefore gained some of their identity.

It may not be appropriate, but that's how we identify regions and cultures. It really isn't meant to be derogatory any form or manor.


User currently offlineSebolino From France, joined May 2001, 3681 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2996 times:

West means at the left of France.
East means at the right of France.

 Smile/happy/getting dizzy  Smile/happy/getting dizzy  Smile/happy/getting dizzy (Don't hurt me)


User currently offlineMetwrench From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 750 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 2991 times:

If you're from the UK, looking at Fraaaannccceeee, you got it ass backwards.

Not that we would expect otherwise.


User currently offlineRickster From Austria, joined Dec 2000, 653 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (12 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2985 times:

Being in the East or West can sometimes differ from the geographical reality.

Just for example Praha and Brno (Czech Republic) wich are geographically in the northwest, or Ljubljana (Slowenia) wich is in the southwest of the "western" city of Vienna, are still very often described as "eastern European" cities.

Regards Rickster


User currently offlineRogueTrader From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (12 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2955 times:

The definition comes from the european division after WW2.

The term as we know it today was used well before WW2.

Trust me on this: It comes from the western hemisphere.

Again, the term was used before the western hemisphere was discovered (or re-discovered) by Europeans.

"West" defines a certain lifestyle, culture and ideology, i.e., democracy, capitalism (for the most part) and freedom of thought and religion

This is pretty accurate as to its current use.

Traditionally, when people speak of the "West" or "Western Civilization" they mean all the civilizations in Europe (and later the Americas) that descended from Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. This is where the term started: in ancient Greece, who viewed their own and the cultures east of them as the two significant cultures of the world. Thus: East and West.

Now, Hepkat's thoughts are more accurate: its pretty much the 'First World' states, mainly European in location or origin, and market oriented democracies.

kind regards,
RogueTrader


User currently offlineLH423 From Canada, joined Jul 1999, 6501 posts, RR: 54
Reply 18, posted (12 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2948 times:

Arsenal@LHR: Technically Japan and Asia are east of North America, because much like the Atlantic has the Prime Meridian separating the Western Hemisphere from the Eastern Hemisphere, the Pacific has the International Dateline running practically dead centre down the middle of it, thereby splitting the Eastern Hemisphere (Asia/Australia) from the Western Hemisphere (the Americas). So while one must travel west from North America to get to Asia, the second they cross the International Dateline they go from being at the furthest point to the west on Earth, to the easternmost point on Earth. It's quite tricky really.

LH423



« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
User currently offlineNZ767 From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 1620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (12 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 2938 times:

Hey Hepkat,
You say Australia and New Zealand are not Western countries?
What are we then??
We're sure as hell not Communist!  Smile


User currently offlineHepkat From Austria, joined Aug 2000, 2341 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (12 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2922 times:

NZ767, I believe I ended by saying I wasn't sure which category you all fall in. Geographically you're certainly not Western, but I guess culturally you are defined as such. And, this world ISN'T just divided into West and Communists.

User currently offlineNZ767 From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 1620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (12 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2916 times:

Hepcat,
See the smile in my post?
Lighten up!!  Smile


User currently offlineToady From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 724 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (12 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2915 times:

Hurricane: I don't know if you meant it to sound this way, but your posting implies that European culture/lifestyle followed American.
Not really true; American culture (legal, social, political, religious) was forged by Europeans who brought it over with them in the early days of your country.

No big deal. The end result is the same - a common culture.


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