[Marxism] Re: Civilization, civilisation

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Wed Jun 2 14:21:45 MDT 2004

Gilles d'Aymery wrote:
> However, I am not sure how the usage moved from "policé" to
> "civilisé." The meaning of policé (Etym: Greek: 'polis' = city), before
> taking its modern usage (cops) was educated, "une personne
> cultivée." To police the countryside was to bring the "higher" values
> held in the cities to the 'peasants'. It also had (and still have, I think)
> the meaning of political/social organization (polity).

One modern usage of "police" (verb) is still similar: to police the
grounds is to pick all pieces of scrap lying around; to clean the
grounds. (This may be primarily but not only military usage.) Also,
"heathen" and "pagan" come from the contrast between the city
(christianized) and the rural areas (still unconverted).

There's a whole collection of ideas & developments around "culture" and
"cultivated" that are relevant here. See Williams, _Key Words_.


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