The story

History Dictionary


Word first used in the late 18th century and spread in the 19th century. It referred to a set of institutions capable of establishing order, peace and happiness. The term referred to an ideal society and was used to designate the European peoples of that period. Considered synonymous with the most advanced social organization, it placed Europe as a reference for the rest of the planet. The term thus implied the social valorization of certain peoples and the devaluation of others. Today, many researchers use the term meaninglessly, meaning only societies that have a complex social organization, with the presence of centralized power, religious and commercial practices, norms of justice, etc.

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