HIST 103 Western Civilization (1800-2000)
Taxonomy of Historical Experience

[UNDER CONSTRUCTION; these entries are being linked to SAC]

I. Mentalities = From the "Age of Enlightenment" to "The Age of Everything"
   "Perceived interests"
   Moral absolutism vs. "pragmatism"; Existentialism
   Traditional "liberal" faiths criticized; New spiritualism
   Science and scientism, empiricism, rationalism | Darwin(ism) | Marx(ism) | Freud(ianism) | Weber | "behaviorism"
   Romanticism and irrationalism = Nietzsche, "Uncertainty Principle"
   "Representationism" (realism) in art gives way to "impressionism"
   "Banquet Years" | "Art at the end of its tether" = artists vs. their audiences = James Joyce
   Science fiction | anti-utopianism | Pop-culture | McLuhan | Irony, skepticism and cynicism
   Madison, Burke, Saint-Simon
   Adam Smith, List, Keynes

II. Institutions = Liberal tradition victorious and then on the ropes [Phases of the European Revolution]
    Churches | Courts of Law | Public education | Print medium | Electronic medium | Censorship
    Political parties = one, two or multiple party systems; "cadre parties"
    "Managerial revolution"    "totalitarianism"
    Neo-federalism (devolution) vs. unification = NATO | EU | Collapse of USSR

III. Social Structure = Feudal social structures out, modern "democratic" ("egalitarian"=better word) social structure in
    Long-dying aristocracies | Slow rising "bourgeoisie" | Fast-growing wage laborer
    Women (gender & sex)
    National minorities ("fourth-world") | "Third-world" peoplesMass society
    "Dozen Categories of Human Grouping"

IV. Economy = Agrarian order gave way to industrialized market economies
    "First Industrial Revolution" | Imperialism | "Second Industrial Revolution" | Welfare statism
    "Neo-mercantilism" ("military industrial complexes") | Trans-national corporations

V. Geo-politics = Projection of "Western" power | "Western Civ" expands over the whole globe
   "The Great Game" | World War One | World War Two | Cold War | "New World Order"




This suggestive organizational TAXONOMY (above) is dynamic with respect to the interior relationships up and down the deceptively stiff-looking outline. The taxonomic categories are themselves fluid and intertwined with one another. For example, part III., Social Structure, often overlaps with part IV, Economy.

For example, sometimes it appears that everyday life decides the way people think, while at others it appears that the way people think determines their daily life. Arguments about crime and poverty, for example, often hang on this point. Criminality and poverty are thought by some to be created by circumstances of everyday life. Others think criminality and poverty are created by character traits of the criminals and the poor themselves, and therefore everyday life circumstances of criminals or dangerous classes of people follow from the way they think or are the result of character traits.

Historians might often consider each possibility, and they also like to ask if these situations are the same for all people, up and down the social hierarchy, or in many different places over the globe, or in all periods of historical time.  Remember these words of caution about "taxonomies" [TXT].

Of course, there is change over historical time. CHRONOLOGY works as if the TAXONOMY above rolled constantly to the right. Nothing is fixed, up and down the four sections or from geographic place to place, and now we are reminded of the horizontal movement of the whole loose structure over time.

Furthermore, we notice in the record of historical experience that various sections and subsections of the taxonomy above seem to rotate rightward (i.e., change over time) at widely different and irregular speeds. Some aspects of human experience seem to change quickly, then not at all, then very slowly, while others seem never to change. We sometimes detect "retrograde motion". Clothing styles, technology, etc., seem very fluid, while certain basic values seem stable. Yet the changing and the apparently changeless dimensions of historical experience are all intertwined. And the whole package is unquestionably rolling forward in time. Even though we like to describe certain trends as "retrograde", as if they were moving backwards, that is simply not possible. In this conceptual scheme time always moves "forward". Such is the four dimensional kaleidoscope of history.

But what sets this squirming kaleidoscope in motion?

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