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25 2 Currents and perspectives in contemporary civilisational analysis The previous chapter explores the context in which civilisational analysis revived in the humanities and social sciences. The key contention is that contemporary historians and comparative sociologists have posited integrationist, processual and relational images of civilisations. The three images apply to a more diverse range of viewpoints and perspectives than prevailed in earlier studies of civilisations in anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology. In this chapter, those images are

in Debating civilisations
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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.

53 3 Counterpoints, critiques, dialogues A challenge for the field of contemporary civilisational analysis is to rethink heterogeneity, plurality and differentiation in terms of porosity. Interaction between permeable civilisations on different scales and across different dimensions invigorates heterogeneity. If anything, civilisational analysis has yet to benefit from efforts to unearth regular patterns of interaction and gauge the results from long-​term rhythms of engagement on the endogenous dynamics of civilisations. The relational model proves to be the

in Debating civilisations
Open Access (free)

185 9 Conclusion In the first part, I portray civilisational analysis as a two-​sided, multidimensional field of the humanities and social sciences. On one side, contemporary civilisational analysis has a delimited set of major problematics and analytics. On the other side, it formed as a wide-​ranging field of debate and has remained one. Paradigmatically speaking, several questions are problematised in contemporary civilisational analysis. Both the questions and the provisional answers given to them shape the three specific images I discern in the field. What

in Debating civilisations
Open Access (free)
Uses and critiques of ‘civilisation’

research in the field. In evaluating the field in the first part of this book, and starting with this opening chapter, I use the phrase ‘contemporary civilisational analysis’ in order to highlight the context and stated purpose claimed by its proponents. In regard to context, the field is deeply influenced by the end of Cold War rivalry. With respect to purpose, the phrase distinguishes efforts to self-​ consciously critique Eurocentric legacies in history and sociology. Civilisational analysis revived through critical reflection on inherited notions of ‘civilisation

in Debating civilisations

. When it comes to the specific field of contemporary civilisational analysis, Arnason, Robert Bellah and Eisenstadt have produced in-​depth monographs and numerous essays on Japanese civilisation (Arnason, 1997a, 2002; Bellah, 2003; Eisenstadt, 1996, 2002a). A  few others could be mentioned as interlocutors between Japanese Studies as a field and civilisational analysis: Praesenjit Duara (as we shall see), Roland Robertson,Yoshio Sugimoto and Tadao Umesao. This chapter begins with a brief assessment of the results of the three historical sociologies crafted in the

in Debating civilisations
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Ontologies of connection, reconstruction of memory

132 6 Pacific imaginaries: ontologies of connection, reconstruction of memory It is remarkable that the Pacific is almost entirely absent from contemporary civilisational analysis, especially given its evident importance to anthropology, to archaeology and to Durkheim and Mauss –​two formative thinkers in the paradigm. But new world contexts more generally are still marginal to civilisational analysis. The lacuna relates to the strengths and limitations of the three images of civilisations discussed in Chapters 2 and 3. American and Pacific new worlds were

in Debating civilisations
Open Access (free)
Seas, oceans and civilisations

contemporary civilisational analysis manifested themselves coextensively in greater world contexts. Each oceanic zone has distinctive histories. Much of the recent scholarship of Atlantic history has established how the Atlantic seaboard states had no 117 Saltwater horizons 117 competitors in oceanic space in the Western hemisphere. The situation diverged completely from the seas ringing the Indian Ocean and the states that patrolled them. In their land invasion of the Americas, by contrast, they confronted Amerindian peoples and civilisations. In time, they competed

in Debating civilisations
Perspectives on civilisation in Latin America

American modernity. While this essay was a landmark corrective, it did not go far enough in elucidating, first, the degree of engagement of multiple civilisations in Latin America and, second, the deep indigenous and African influences in the social constitution of Latin American societies. Beyond Eisenstadt’s essay, there has been only a couple of major works contributing to debates in contemporary civilisational analysis around the Americas (Katzenstein, 2012b; Smith, 2006). More generally, remarks made at the end of Chapter  3 on the absence of research on Africa, new

in Debating civilisations
Imaginaries, power, connected worlds

relational histories featured in the previous chapter. All of these paradigmatic points of view illuminate important insights. However, they fall short on critical questions that can be posed within civilisational analysis. None look deeply at the interstices or the connections between civilisations as such. The aim in this chapter and the next is to address this gap by assembling a framework for comparative and historical research into deep relations between civilisations. In extending the interactionist current of contemporary civilisational analysis, I elucidate four

in Debating civilisations