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On-line version ISSN 1852-0499


ADAMOVSKY, Ezequiel. El paralelo Rusia/Estados Unidos en Francia y la formación de una identidad "occidental": usos políticos tempranos, de Le Trosne a Tocqueville y Beaumont. Prismas [online]. 2009, vol.13, n.1, pp.17-32. ISSN 1852-0499.

One of the most important aspects of the making of "Western" identity is the way in which it symbolically constructed geographical space. The exclusion of Russia from the symbolical space of Europe, and the inclusion of the usa as part of the same "Western" world, are two of the most important shifts in the ideological construction of geographical space and in the liberal narrative of "civilization". This article examines one of the images that contributed the most to the success of those shifts: the parallel Russia/usa, that is, the comparison of the two nations as embodying opposing historical "principles" for the future of humankind. The parallel Russia/usa was popularized by Tocqueville in 1835, and thereafter became part of commonsensical geographical imagination -especially during the Cold War-. However, it has an older and revealing "prehistory". The evolution in the meaning, and the remarkable success, of the parallel Russia/usa constitutes an important chapter in the story of the emergence of a liberal narrative of "the West". As despotism and social egalitarianism (and therefore socialism) were expelled from European identity as something alien, characteristic of 'uncivilized' countries like Russia, the usa emerged as the model for the successful (liberal) transformation of turbulent Europe. By finding in American society a model able to articulate wider political consensus to legitimize capitalist institutions, European (liberal) identity went "Western". The parallel Russia/usa was fundamental to justify this shift.

Keywords : Parallel Russia-USA; Identity; West; Liberalism; France.

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