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Having the capacity to define what constitutes civilised or barbaric behaviour or the values and identities that establish boundaries of particular civilisational communities has significant political implications.

Critical Review: The Clash of Civilizations (Samuel P. Huntington)

In civilisational talk today, both civilisation in the singular and the plural are being strategically deployed. But the most prominent and perhaps most dangerous site at which civilisational discourse is strategically deployed is in the debate about the relationship between Islam and the West.

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Casting the relationship between these constellations of people as a clash of civilisations echoes Huntington in representing civilisations as immutable and incommensurable. It fuels radical polarisation within and across societies, as we have seen with the rise of far right parties across Europe with agendas that cast Muslims and Muslim immigration as a threat.

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  8. But these narratives of irreconcilability also fuel the cause of violent jihadists who welcome the representation of the relationship between Islam and the West as one of irreducible difference and conflict. The language of civilisation and barbarism comes with risks. There is a lingering question of who defines what is civilised and what and who is barbaric. Whose standards and whose rules are used to draw these boundaries?

    What We Get Wrong About the Clash of Civilizations

    Civilisational talk can also shine a light on the importance of culture and cultural interaction in world politics. It can help us understand what we have in common as well as helping us understand what makes us different and unique. But it is how we understand and represent civilisation that matters. Civilisational talk is a powerful tool: it can bring us together, but also to push us apart. It makes the politics of identity simple—black and white—which is particularly attractive at times when we face confusing and dangerous challenges. But it also loses the rich complexity of societies and cultures and of their interactions that have often been source of creativity as much as conflict in our societies.

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    In the current political climate, the possibility of another government shutdown seems more than likely. Back from the dead, the Trans-Pacific Partnership has acquired a new lease on life without Washington's involvement.

    The Clash of Ignorance

    Now there's more reason than ever why China's membership would benefit everyone involved, including Beijing. The US National Security Strategy released by the Trump administration this week comprehensively outlines the country's approach to security threats in the 21st century.

    Samuel Huntington on the 'Clash of Civilizations'

    But there is one glaring omission. What we are seeing along the most conflictual of the civilizational fault lines is not so much a civilizational conflict as a conflict over alternative political systems. This is remarkable since international law itself was born out of such a clash.

    The most powerful societies have not come under sustained pressure to construct an international society that does justice to different cultures or civilisations. Before you download your free e-book, please consider donating to support open access publishing.

    Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations Revisited - The New York Times

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