Plzeňské sympozia

Miloš Havelka

Revolutions – transformations – changes

pp. 18–30 (Czech), Summary 29–30 (English), 30 (Deutsch)

This paper attempts to explore the semantic field of ''civilizational disasters'' and to define the boundaries of the cultural contexts in which this field appeared in the 19th century from the standpoint of the history of ideas and the history of the concept. The starting point here is the theory that the ''disaster'' issue involves cultural constructions that are dependent both on the events themselves and on their perception and evaluation in a particular mental situation. This can be perceived in the light of historical narratives on the fall of the Roman Empire (by Amianus Marcelinus and Augustinus to Montesquieu, Ferguson, Gibbon and Max Weber), where the meaning of the idea of disaster in the 19th century typically involves a shift and expansion towards the new civilizational processes of industrialization, modernization, secularization, urbanization etc and their undesirable accompanying phenomena.


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