In the last two decades of the 20th century, theorising on modernity has entered a new stage. The former dichotomy between an active West exporting its successful model of modernity on a global scale and passive non-Westerners gratefully implementing this model in their own societies has been challenged by critical anthropology and postcolonial studies, and further elaborated upon within social theory.
This volume focuses on Europe and the Islamic world as two historically constructed geo-civilisational domains, and shows that modernity was not achieved in splendid isolation in Europe, but in the tensions and conflicts within the «transcultural space» between Europe and Islam. The impact of Islam as a complex civilising tradition on the making of Europe, and vice versa, impinged on the building of political, religious and scientific institutions and discourses. These sustained a continuous process of drawing, adjusting and transgressing symbolic and geo-political boundaries between the two civilisational realms, from medieval rivalries to present-day migration-related conflicts.
This volume assembles seven contributions by historians and sociologists covering the whole of the modern era and focusing on the notion of a transcultural space and the discussion of revised concepts concerning the genesis and shape of modernity.
In so doing, they try to escape both the apories of cultural relativism and the militancy of the «clash of civilizations».