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Interrogating civilisational analysis in a global age

Contemporary civilisational analysis has emerged in the post-Cold War period as a forming but already controversial field of scholarship. This book focuses on the scholarship produced in this field since the 1970s. It begins with anthropological axioms posited by Ibn Khaldun, Simon Bolivar and George Pachymeres. Three conceptual images of civilisations are prominent in the field. First, civilisations are conceived as socio-cultural units, entities or blocs in an 'integrationist' image. They emerge out of long-term uneven historical processes. Finally, in a 'relational' image civilisations are believed to gain definition and institute developmental patterns through inter-societal and inter-cultural encounters. The book traces the history of semantic developments of the notions of 'civilisation' and 'civilisations' coextensive with the expansion of Europe's empires and consubstantial with colonialism. Early modernities are more important in the long formation of capitalism. Outlining the conceptual framework of inter-civilisational engagement, the book analytically plots the ties instituted by human imaginaries across four dimensions of inter-civilisational engagement. It also interrogates the relationship between oceans, seas and civilisations. Oceanian civilisation exhibits patterns of deep engagement and connection. Though damaged, Pacific cultures have invoked their own counter-imaginary in closer proximity to past islander experiences. Collective memory provides resources for coping with critical issues. The book also explores Latin American and Japanese experiences that shed light on the engagement of civilisations, applying the model of inter-civilisational engagement to modern perspectives in culture and the arts, politics, theology and political economy.

stood in direct or partial opposition to the logic of capitalist accumulation and exploitation. Principal among these were the ideals of emancipation and social justice. If social democracy increasingly came in practice to represent an accommodation with capitalism rather than an actual or potential alternative, it still evoked the possibility of an alternative and could advance

in The Third Way and beyond
Imaginaries, power, connected worlds

economic relations through commerce, the practices of trust-​building, the growth of networks and, in the last five hundred years, the imaginary institution of forms of capitalism. 3. Cultural exchange and creation through practices of borrowing, blending, translation, imposition and fusion in science, the arts, architecture, religion and language. 4. Exchange may involve the political reconstruction of civilisational models. States have some involvement across the board. Also, all dimensions are contexts of explicit power, though no dimension is over-​determined in its

in Debating civilisations
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, we discuss the present position of ‘equality’: has its value decreased in general esteem because of the almost universal acceptance of liberal capitalism and its emphasis on ‘freedom’ as the prime political and social goal? POINTS TO CONSIDER Why has equality been valued less than liberty in Western societies? Do recent advances in genetics give the lie to the

in Understanding political ideas and movements

silent on the chief problematics that concern civilisational analysis. At the same time, in stressing the rupture of capitalism with past social formations, Marxist critiques highlight a whole area that civilisational analysis has neglected. Three perspectives are compatible with an understanding of capitalism and civilisations as coextensive modern imaginaries:  one interpretation of Marx, Antonio Gramsci’s Marxism and Robert W. Cox’s neo-​Gramscian civilisational analysis. The sharpest critiques of civilisational analysis come from post-​colonial sociology, which

in Debating civilisations
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) (T)he difference is that the enemy is more subtle and stealthy than before. Capitalism remains the oppressor it has always been, but the inequality and humiliation which used to stare out at you at every street corner is now harder to see, even possible to miss altogether. (A delegate at the Labour Party Annual Conference, 1973) Like

in Understanding political ideas and movements
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Uses and critiques of ‘civilisation’

all, the Chinese cultural pattern is seen as cognitively deficient compared with the baseline of the West that Weber used. His comparative analysis of India is more substantial and has more sustainable conclusions (Weber, 1958). However, like his comparative historical sociology of China, it is premised on the search for the balance of elements of the 13 Civilisations debated 13 capitalist spirit privileged in the developmental paths of Western countries that may be sourced in religious traditions and which can explain the absence of capitalism. He seems unable

in Debating civilisations
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social identity and ‘class struggle’ as the driving force of history? Does the importance of theory in Marxism undermine its potential for political action against capitalism by stimulating intra-Marxist strife and the proliferation of Marxist movements? Has Marxism’s association with oppressive communist regimes in, say, the Soviet Union been damaging to its professed role as a liberating movement for the working classes? Or is

in Understanding political ideas and movements

poverty of neo-liberalism Nobody in the political mainstream speaks out against capitalism today. Opposition to free markets is seen as naive – or a proof of ignorance of the laws of economics. Hibernating or moribund Marxists of a Gramscian hue may talk about a ‘hegemonic project’, others – however reluctantly – may admit to Fukuyama’s thesis of the ‘End of History’ (Fukuyama 1992); that world history, ideologically speaking, has ended, that liberalism has triumphed. Scores of reports trumpet the virtues of the prevailing system of market capitalism – and are followed

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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that argument before posing some questions of the human condition. The argument in summary The problematic of inter-​civilisational encounters is a point of reference for the version of civilisational analysis assembled in these pages. Yet the sociology of encounters between civilisations also has its limits. It has yet to extensively unpack colonial modernities, capitalism and new world and oceanic societies 186 186 Debating civilisations in the theatres of the Americas and Oceania. The perspectives in post-​colonial sociology, Marxism and globalisation

in Debating civilisations