The Clash of Civilizations

The Clash of Civilizations - Samuel P. Huntington, 1993...

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Samuel P. Huntington, 1993 (Summer), "The Clash of Civilizations?," Foreign Affairs 72(3):22-49. INTRODUCTION Harvard political scientist Huntington has developed a grand overview of war in recent history with projections for its future which pivot on conflict between civilizations instead of over ideologies or economics: World politics is entering a new phase, and intellectuals have not hesitated to proliferate visions of what it will be--the end of history, the return of traditional rivalries between nation states, and the decline of the nation state from the conflicting pulls of tribalism and globalism, among others. Each of these visions catches aspects of the emerging reality. Yet they all miss a crucial, indeed a central, aspect of what global politics is likely to be in the coming years. It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will be the battle lines of the future. (22) DEFINITION OF CIVILIZATION Huntington defines a civilization as "the highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest level of cultural identity people have short of that which distinguishes humans from other species. It is defined by both common objective elements, such as language, history, religion, customs, institutions, and by the subjective self-identification of people" (24). He also realizes that the compositions and boundaries of civilizations may change as people redefine their identities, and that civilizations may blend and overlap as well as include subcivilizations, thus the lines between civilizations are seldom sharp. Nevertheless, civilizations are meaningful entities (24). The differences between civilizations are not only real, they are basic, and religion is the most important difference (25 MAJOR CIVILIZATIONS He includes as the major civilizations Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American, and African. He asserts that the "cultural fault lines" separating these civilizations will be the locus of the most important conflicts in the future (25). Huntington asserts that "Islam has bloody
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2011 for the course PACE 345 taught by Professor Brucebarnes during the Spring '10 term at University of Hawaii, Manoa.

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The Clash of Civilizations - Samuel P. Huntington, 1993...

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