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The Clash of Civilizations.docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 341
Julie Norman

The Clash of Civilizations? (Samuel P. Huntington) The Next Pattern of Conflict • fundamental source of conflict in the new world will be cultural (between nations and groups of different civilizations • Peace of Westhphalia: conflicts among princes, emperors, monarchs • French Revolution: conflicts between nations • Russian Revolution: conflicts of ideologies (communism, fascism, liberal democracy) • Cold War: conflicts between two superpowers that defined identity by ideology The Nature of Civilizations • groups countries in terms of their culture and civilization • civilization: a cultural entity (villages, regions, ethnic groups, religion groups…) • common Italian culture that distinguishes different Italian villages from German villages ◦ European communities share cultural features that distinguish them from Arab or Chinese communities ◦ Arabs, Chinese and Westerners, however, are not part of any broader cultural entity (they are civilizations) • Highest cultural grouping is civilization • broader reaches of human history have been the history of civilizations Why Civilizations Will Clash • seven or eight major civilizations • Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin Americans, African • 1. differences among civilizations are basic ◦ history, language, culture, tradition, religion ◦ rights and responsibilities, liberty and authority, equality and hierarchy ◦ will not soon disappear • 2. the world is becoming a smaller place ◦ increasing interactions intensify consciousness of differences • 3. the processes of economic modernization and social change are separating people from longstanding local identities ◦ religion has filled the gap (fundamentalists) • 4. the growth of civilization-consciousness is enhanced by the dual role of the West ◦ West is a peak of power ◦ return to the roots phenomenon occurring among non-Western civilizations ▪ Asianization in Japan, failure of Western socialism + nationalism ◦ West at the peak of its power confronts non-Wests that increasingly have the desire, will, and resources to shape the world in non- Western ways • 5. cultural characteristics and differences are less mutable and thus less easily compromised and resolved ◦ communists could become democrats, rich become poor ◦ you could be half-French and half-Arab ◦ harder to be half-Catholic, half-Muslim • 6. economic regionalism is increasing ◦ NAFTA works
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