Clash of civilizations

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Book Summary of The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington
Citation:
Huntington, Samuel P. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1996. 

This Book Summary written by: Hollie Hendrikson, Conflict Research Consortium

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order is an expansion of the1993 Foreign Affairsarticle written by Samuel Huntington that hypothesized a new post-Cold War world order. Prior to the end of the Cold War, societies were divided by ideological differences, such as the struggle between democracy and communism. Huntington's main thesis argues, "The most important distinctions among peoples are [no longer] ideological, political, or economic. They are cultural"(21). New patterns of conflict will occur along the boundaries of different cultures and patterns of cohesion will be found within the cultural boundaries.
Part One: A World of Civilizations
To begin his argument, Huntington refutes past paradigms that have been ineffective in explaining or predicting the reality of the global political order. "We need a map," Huntington says, "that bothportrays reality and simplifies reality in a way that best serves our purposes" (31). Huntington develops a new "Civilization paradigm" to create a new understanding of the post-Cold War order, and to fill the gaps of the already existing paradigms. To begin with, Huntington divides the world into eight "major" civilizations:
1. Sinic: the common culture of China and Chinese communities in SoutheastAsia. Includes Vietnam and Korea.
2. Japanese: Japanese culture as distinctively different from the rest of Asia.
3. Hindu: identified as the core Indian civilization.
4. Islamic: Originating on the Arabian Peninsula, spread across North Africa, Iberian Peninsula and Central Asia. Arab, Turkic, Persian and Malay are among the many distinct subdivisions within Islam.
5.Orthodox: centered in Russia. Separate from Western Christendom.
6. Western: centered in Europe and North America.
7. Latin American: Central and South American countries with a past of a corporatist, authoritarian culture. Majority of countries are of a Catholic majority.
8. Africa: while the continent lacks a sense of a pan-African identity, Huntington claims that Africans are also increasinglydeveloping a sense of African Identity.
Following the explanations of the separate civilizations in the new paradigm, Huntington describes the relations among civilizations. Before 1500 A.D., civilizations were separated geographically and the spread of ideas and technology took centuries. Huntington argues that research and technology are the catalyst for civilization creation and development.By 1500 A.D., evolution in ocean navigation by Western cultures led to rapid expansion and eventual domination of ideas, values, and religion.
Twentieth century relations among civilizations have moved beyond the unidirectional influence of the west on the rest. Instead, "multidirectional interactions among all civilization" has been maintained (53). In other words, cultural influence isinterdependent; western civilizations influence and are influenced by smaller, less powerful civilizations around the world.
Huntington then refutes the idea of a Western cultural hegemony and the concept of an established universal civilization. He states that "global communications are dominated by the West" and is "a major source of the resentment and hostility of non-Western peoples against the West"(59). The notion of a single, universal culture is not helpful creating an explanation or a description of global political order. However, Huntington also argues that as modernization increases cross-cultural communication, the similarities among cultures also increase. The key to this chapter is Huntington's severance of modernization from Westernization. While the world is becoming more...
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