Coloniality In Western Europe

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One of the main premises of every empire is coloniality, which is the categorization of the population in a cognitive hierarchical system. Through the geographical expansion of Europe in the 16th century, new commercial circuits were opened which facilitated the economic prosperity for Western Europe by the change of its relatively marginal position in the global trade network into a more interconnected one (Mignolo 2000, Böröcz 2009). However, this prosperity was not simply due to the new trade routes but more importantly due to the colonial system as a new model of control which supported the formation of capitalism and capitalist world-system. Besides this economic prosperity, during the discoveries, the imaginary map of Europe about the…show more content…
This differentiation was born during the Cold War, which indicates one of the divisions of the system: the ‘First World’ which is technologically advanced and free of ideological constraints; the ‘Second World’ which is technologically advanced but encumbered by an ideological elite; and the ‘Third World’ which is “traditionally, economically, and technologically underdeveloped, with a traditional mentality obscuring the possibility of utilitarian and scientific thinking” (Mignolo 1998:47). Coloniality, in this sense, is a creation of a set of states linked together within an interstate system in hierarchical layers. At the very bottom of the system were the formal colonies, but even when formal colonial status would end, coloniality would not. It is constituted in forms of socio-cultural hierarchies of Europeans and non-Europeans. This is called coloniality of power, a “social classification of the world’s population around the idea of race, a mental construction that expresses the basic experience of colonial domination and pervades the more important dimensions of global power” (Quijano…show more content…
While the “eastern” pole of the slope symbolizes irrationality, “barbarism”, lower quality, and consequently is the negative pole. This dichotomy could be considered as the cognitive hierarchy of economic world system which is embedded in the ideological framework of the universalist idea of a single “civilization”. This universalist binary counter concept appears in the public discourse, but also in individuals’ self-designation and self-identification as a collective identity. The non-dominant – i.e. non-western European – societies locate themselves somewhere in the middle, or even below, of the slope which means that they verify the hegemony of “western” states in the field of economy as well as in cultural and civilizational sense. This civilizational slope also means the “colonization of consciousness” which is supported not only from the hegemonic western pole, but also by the local elites who hereby receive a higher status and even their legitimation by a missionary role that their duty should be to revive their

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