Western Culture - Terminology

Terminology

Further information: Western world

The Greeks contrasted themselves to their Eastern neighbors, such as the Trojans in Iliad, setting an example for later contrasts between east and west. In the Middle Ages, the Near East provided a contrast to the West, though Hellenized since the time of Alexander the Great, and ruled from Rome and Constantinople.

In the early 21st century, with increasing globalism, it has become more difficult to determine which individuals fit into which category, and the East–West contrast is sometimes criticized as relativistic and arbitrary.

Globalism has spread Western ideas so widely that almost all modern cultures are, to some extent, influenced by aspects of Western culture. Recent stereotyped views of "the West" have been labelled Occidentalism, paralleling Orientalism - the term for the 19th century stereotyped views of "the East".

Boundaries of countries that constitute "the West" remain unclear. Geographically, the "West" of today would include Western Europe together with certain territories belonging to the Anglosphere, the Hispanidad, the Lusofonia or the Francophonie.

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