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This book seeks to provide an interpretation of the idea of Europe through an analysis of the course of European history. It aims to discover the structure of qualitative shifts in the relation between state, society and individual, how they occurred and what were their consequences for the formation of social and culture structures for European history. The book makes a major contribution to the debate on the idea of Europe and offers an interdisciplinary approach drawing especially from history, sociology and political theory, but also from geography and anthropology. The theoretical objective of is to make sense of the course of European history through an account of the formation of a European cultural model that emerges out of the legacies of the inter-civilizational background. It considers how in relation to this cultural model a societal structure takes shape. The tension between both gives form to Europe's path to modernity and defines the specificity of its heritage. The structuring process that has shaped Europe made possible a model of modernity that has placed a strong emphasis on the values of social justice and solidarity. These values have been reflectively appropriated in different periods to produce different interpretations, societal outcomes and a multiplicity of projects of modernity.