The 'Standard of Civilization' in World Politics

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The ‘standard of civilisation’ was used by international lawyers in the nineteenth century to defend the Europeans’ right to colonise and control non-European societies. The concept is one illustration of how the European civilising process influenced world politics, and process sociology helps to explain its development. The analysis of the ‘standard of civilisation’ draws attention to the need to broaden process-sociological analysis to explain how state formation and conceptions of civilisation, the rise of overseas empires and the emergence of the international society of states shaped long-term patterns of social and political change that have affected humanity as a whole.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Figurations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016


  • civilising offensives
  • colonialism
  • established-outsider relations
  • global interconnectedness
  • international society


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