Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Western Supremacy The Triumph of an Idea by Sophie Bessis

Western Supremacy The Triumph of an Idea


Western Supremacy The Triumph of an Idea by Sophie Bessis

Sophie Bessis tells the story of the West's relationship with the world it came to dominate - from the conquest of the Americas, through the slave trade and the Scramble for Africa, the White Man's burden, Manifest Destiny and the growth of scientific racism, to decolonisation, the ideology of development and structural adjustment. Western Supremacy is the history of colonial and developmentalist thought. Starting with the Enlightenment idea of universality it traces how this facilitated a notion of the West rooted in a Hellenic inheritance systematically shorn of Egyptian or Arab influences. Though the hierarchy of races has now given way to the hierarchy of development, Bessis argues that developmentalism is the new incarnation of the West's paradoxical aspiration to lead the world into universalism whilst maintaining its own supremacy. An extraordinary tour-de-force which will fascinate everybody who has an interest in globalization, development and the history of ideas.


'An extraordinary work of intellectual history, beautifully written, raising the most profound questions about that sacred cow, Western Civilization. I hope her book will be widely read.'
Howard Zinn

'A complex and original picture of international relations.'
Le Monde des Livres

'The author`s deep understanding of the societies of the South helps her avoid facile judgements.'
Alternatives Economiques

'A particularly stimulating work, which traces the evolution of the modern West from its renaissance roots to its most recent avatar.'

'This book glows with lucid anger - and impatience with the confusions offered us not only by the proponents of Western supremacy but by many of its supposed opponents.'
Immanuel Wallerstein

About the Author

Sophie Bessis has held a number of important editorial and other posts, including head of research and editor in chief of Jeune Afrique, director of the Panos Institute in Paris and editor of Vivre Autrement.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

1st April 2003


Sophie Bessis

More books by Sophie Bessis
Author 'Like for Like'


Zed Books Ltd


304 pages


Political science & theory
Development economics & emerging economies
International relations
Development studies
History of ideas



Discover new authors and enjoy old favourites; oodles of literary gems to uncover at Lovereading with candid reviews from real reviewers.

Emily Wright

It has enriched my leisure time by introducing me to a world of books which I would not have previously considered.

Val Rowe

Books of the month/debuts of the month, kids/adults, fiction/non-fiction, free prize draws and free extracts, what's not to love?

Emma Smith

As for why I'd recommend Lovereading, it's simple - it's a great place to get information and reviews about new books!

Margaret Freeman

You can trust Lovereading to show unbiased reviews by actual, ordinary readers that help likeminded booklovers choose their next great read.

Linda Hill

Thanks to Lovereading I have discovered new writers and read books I would never had looked twice at - and enjoyed them.

Angela Rhodes

It has opened my eyes to different authors and genres. Just log on and try, you will be surprised and not want for reading material again.

Jocelyn Garvey

I love 'try before you buy' extracts. I love the wide range of authors & genres. I love the author info. I love books!

Judi Davies