Feb 11, 2007

The Myth of the Clash of the Civilizations

Edward Said does an excellent talk on the flaws and problems with Huntingdon's moronic "Clash of the Civilizations" theory of international politics, much beloved by policy wonks in the USA.

5 parts to this brilliant dissection and criticism:


High Heels said...

excellent. thanks for posting this up. I thought at one point he had fallen into a liberal "melting pot" stance but fortunately one of the questions posed allowed him to clarify that he wasn't advocating homogeneity. Thinking now about his praising counter culture movements such as environmentalism, women's movement etc set up in "direct opposition" to the (binary) thinking behind clash of civilizations is somewhat ironic-- and indicative of the insiduous nature and effects of binary ideology. and of course the women's movement for one has fallen badly on that hurdle often.
he traces this back to nioneteenth century ideology, but the Elizabethans for one adapted christian ideology in a very similar way to jsutify their particular imperialist projects too (not a historian myself I dont know where else ti ahs happened, just been reading about the context in which othello was written, the mappa mundi etc.) Any counter-arguments for this from advocates of clash of civilisation?? this comment is too long already so I'll stop.

Episkopos Cain said...

I can't find many counter-arguments. Most essentially reassert what Huntingdon originally said and leave it at that. He builds on traditional Realist thought, but because he moves the unitary unit above the state level (which many have criticized for making no sense) he has little support there.

Of course, the NeoCons do, because it blends seamlessly with Fukuyama's wittering about The End of History and keeps the arms dealers in business.