Textbook Notes (362,868)
Canada (158,081)
POLI 227 (49)
Rex Brynen (21)

POLI 227 Huntington - Clash of Civilizations?.docx

6 Pages
Unlock Document

McGill University
Political Science
POLI 227
Rex Brynen

POLI 227 Conference Reading #1 Samuel Huntington – “The Clash of Civilizations?” Great divisions among humankind and major sources of conflict will be cultural  Nation-states will remain most pwrfl actors in world politics, but clash of CIVILIZATIONS will dominate the scene  Conflicts btwn kings  conflicts btwn ppls  conflicts btwn ideologies  conflicts btwn civilizations  W/ conflicts btwn civilizations, non-Western states become movers and shakers in their own right for the first time, rather than just objects of colonialism (previous conflicts were “Western civil wars) The nature of civilizations:  States should no longer be classified based on their poli/econ dvlpmt, but based on their culture and civilization  Civilization: a cultural entity (cultures are subdivisions of civilizations)  Broadest level of collective identity  Common objective elements  Common subjective self-identification of the ppl  Boundaries change Why civilizations will clash:  Divisions among civilizations are real and fundamental (entrenched over the course of history)  The world is becoming a smaller place (interactions are increasing) – enhanced civilization awareness  invigoration of diffs and animosities  Econ modernization and social change are separating ppl from traditional local identities – nation-state weakened as a source of identity  antagonistic relg fundamentalism moves in to fill the void (transcendence of nat’l boundaries and unification of civilizations)  Growing civilization consciousness exacerbated by dual role of the West – West is at the peak of pwr; a “return to the roots” mvmt is happening (perhaps consequentially) in non-Western civilizations (turning inwards)  Cultural characteristics and diffs are less mutable and easily resolved than poli and econ diffs, and cultural diffs are sensitive distinctions  Econ regionalism is on the rise – can increase civilization consciousness; may work only when rooted in a common civilization (e.g. Euro Community and North American Free Trade Area founded on cultural commonalities, Japan has difficulty est an econ entity in East Asia b/c it is a distinct culture)  Diffs in culture and relg create diffs in policy issues  Groups unify based on culture, not ideology, and push back against Western homogeneity (rejection of democracy and liberalism by many states)  Clash of civilizations occurs on 2 levels: 1. Micro: adjacent groups along the fault lines of civilizations struggle (often violently) over control of territories and ea. other 2. Macro: states from diff civilizations compete for relative econ and military pwr, struggle over control of internat’l institutions and third parties, and competitively promote their distinctive poli and relg vals The fault lines btwn civilizations: Ideological boundaries  boundaries of civilizations since the Cold War as flashpoints: shift occurred w/ the end of the Cold War (lifting of the Iron Curtain)  Ideological divide has given way to the cultural divides btwn Western Xtianity, Eastern Orthodox Xtianity, and Islam in Europe  Historical divisions derived from the Euro/Hapsburg experience (greater econ advancement, Euro integration, and propensity for democracy) and the Ottoman/Tsarist experience  Centuries-old conflict btwn the West and Islam – will probably con’t (fundamentalism, resentment of Western domination…)  Complication of west-Islam relations:  In the Islamic world, Western-style democracy is strengthening anti- West poli forces  Issues of demography – rapidly growing Arab population is migrating to Western Europe, where cultural sensitivities are leading to more open racism and conflict  Other great clash of civilizations – Islamic Arabs vs. pagan/animist/Xtian black ppl to the south – modernization of Africa and the spread of Xtianity in Africa likely to exacerbate this  Relg reinforces revival of antagonistic ethnic IDs  E.g. Russians and Muslims in central Asia, Hindus and Muslims in the Indian subcontinent  End of the Cold War has also revealed the underlying, fundamental diffs btwn USA and China  Relations also difficult btwn USA and Japan (cultural diffs, based on basic vals, attitudes, and behavioural patterns exacerbate econ conflict)  Interactions btwn civilizations vary greatly in the extent to which they are likely to be characterized by violence (e.g. in Eurasia – the bloody borders of the Islamic bloc) Civilization rallying – the kin-country syndrome: States naturally rally to support states that belong to the same civilization as them in the case of inter-civilization conlficts  “Kin-country syndrome” (civilization commonality) is replacing traditional balance of pwr concerns and poli ideology as the principal basis for coop and coalitions as the post-Cold War world evolves  Leads to a system of double standards – pwrs judge and censure their kin-countries differently than they do those belonging to diff civilizations  E.g: 1. Gulf War (anti-Iraq, Western-backed coalition against Islamist coalition that backed Iraq despite other conflicts, in defense of their civilization and autonomous cultural identity) 2. Azerbaijan vs. Armenia (conflict w/in former USSR; after the dissolution of the USSR Russia supported Xtian Armenia) 3. Yugoslav breakup – West was not very concerned w/ treatment of Muslims during dismemberment of Bosnia- Herzigova  Conflicts w/in civilizations are likely to be less intense and are less likely to expand than inter-civilization conflicts, which are also more likely to erupt in violence  Civilization rallying to date has been limited, but it is likely to expand (promoted by populist politicians, relg leaders, and the media as a way of pressuring hesitant gov’ts) The West vs. the rest: West is at an extraordinary peak of pwr in relation to other civilizations w/ disappearance of its superpwr competition (USSR)  Unmatched collective military pwr, and military conflict btwn Western states is unthinkable  Virtually no econ competition, except for Japan  Dominates internation poli, security, and econ (w/ Japan) institutions (IMF, U.N. Security Council)  The West is using these supposedly globally rep institutions, military pwr, and econ resources to maintain Western predomi
More Less

Related notes for POLI 227

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.