POL114 – Lecture – March 1, 2012
Bowen believes conflict is State-centric (conflicts arising over power and resources)
Huntington believes conflict is People-centric (conflicts arise over cultural differences)
Combining theories For instance Nazi Germany >>> What was wrong with the culture, why did they
support the killings, (CULTURE) but also the state wanted political control of the rest of Europe.
How Huntington saw previous and future conflicts:
Pre-Modern World Wars were between kings
20 Century Wars were over ideology
Post-Cold War Wars will be between civilizations ( believed wars will be against cultures or
civilizations…between “West” clashing with the “Rest”)
Definition of a civilization:
Larger than nations
Common language, history, religion, villages etc.
*Modern civilizations will be comprised of the West and the Rest which are Confucian, Japanese,
Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin America and possibly Africa.
Example: He believed wars will no longer be between France and Germany (West vs. West), but France
against Islam (West vs. Rest)
COMPARING HUNTINGTON TO ANDERSON
Civilization = Cultural entity Nation = Idea about belonging
Real and basic Imagined
Replaces “nation” as source of identity Replaces dynastic and “religious” community
West v. Rest No prediction
HOWEVER Bowen completely rejects Huntington’s ideas, based on 3 faulty assumptions:
Three problematic assumptions:
Huntington Says: Identities are ancient and unchanging
Bowen Says: NO – identities are modern
Huntington Says: Identities motivate people to persecute and kill
Bowen Says: NO – Leaders motivate people to persecute and kill
Huntington Says: Diversity inevitably leads to violence
Bowen Says: NO- Struggles over power and resources leads to violence
Examples that reinforce Bowen Arab spring has nothing to do with civilizations but leaders (state-
centric conflict)…other examples include the Vietnam War, and CANADA (b/c different civilizations
assimilate without turmoil) THE NEXT 2 PAGES ARE MY NOTES FROM THE READINGS THAT GO IN
DEPTH & FURTHER EXPLAIN THE CONCEPT ABOVE.
THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS (notes) Huntington’s Thesis
Huntington Stated that: Fundamental source of conflict and division is not economical or ideological but
cultural divides between humankind…principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations
and groups of different civilizations. Clash between civilizations will dominate global politics.
*** By civilizations Huntington means a cultural entity: Villages, regions, ethnic groups, nationalities,
and religious groups…civilization is a broad category in which people find a cultural identity. Civilizations
may be large or small, they may divide, merge or disappear ***
World will be shaped by 7 or 8 major civilizations (i.e. Western, Confucian (system of morals and ethics),
Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and possibly African, which he says will
separate these civilizations from one another and thus create a division.
Why will a clash occur?
Different approaches to situations, different viewpoints concerning the state, liberty and
authority, equality and hierarchy, husband and wife, relations between God and man etc.
He also states that globalization does not assist the issue, rather, because the world is becoming
a smaller place, it intensifies the interactions between civilizations and hence intensifies
civilization consciousness Consciousness invigorates differences (i.e. French citizens having
hostility against North African immigrants but not against Catholic European Polish immigrants
who are of the same western realm)
Also a factor with religion and the violence/discrimination with Muslims and Christians
(i.e. modernization of Africa and consequently the spread of Christianity creates a social
Revival of religion – Religious differences Muslims, Jewish, Catholics being divided)
Growth of civilization consciousness is enhanced by the role of the west …de-westernization---
non-westerners will become actors not objects
Cultural characteristics are harder to resolve than political and economic issues (i.e. poor can
become rich and vice versa, communists can become democrats but a Russian cannot become
Economic regionalism (increase in economics of select regions of homogeneity…for example
NAFTA agreement between Canada, US and Mexico is advantageous for the 3 countries, but
creates problems for Japan because its civilization is different so it makes economic growth
difficult with parts of Asia) – can promote regional economic integration
CONCLUSION Civilization clash occurs at 2 levels, MACRO (states from different civilizations
compete for economic power, military, control of international institutions etc) and MICRO (control
of territory and each other).
Huntington says: Conflicts will be more frequent, more violent than with members of same
civilization leading to the escalation of global wars. Essentially believes wars will be ethically driven. MYTH OF GLOBAL ETHNIC CONFLICT (notes continued) Bowen’s Thesis
Bowen’s perspective is that there are misleading and misrepresenting assumptions that there is age-old
hatred based in ethnical conflict. Fights and hatred is not fueled from ethnic or cultural identity, but
from attempting to get more power, land, or other resources.
He states we make 3 assumptions (based on Huntington’s beliefs) about ethnic /group conflicts that are
ALL WRONG according to Bowen ---- These myths directly oppose what Huntington believes.
1. Ethnic identities are ancient and unchanging
2. Identities motivate people to persecute and kill
3. Ethnic diversity itself inevitably leads to violence – not true since places with little ethnic
diversity – (i.e. Rwanda/Former Yugoslavia have blood baths while Malaysia – every diverse
suffer little violence.
These misleading assumptions are seen in the Former Yugoslavia where Croats (Roman Catholics), Serbs
(Orthodox Christian) and Bosnians (Muslims) all speak the same language but are separated by religion,
the three religions have indeed become symbols of group differences, but religious differences have not,
by themselves, caused intergroup conflict.
Hatred of Tutsis in Rwanda was not fuelled by ancient tribunal hatred but because Belg