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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.

interact with the global plane to constrain processes of homogenisation or de-​localisation. The perspectives in Marxism I single out suggest that capitalism’s early modernity was more important than has been previously accepted. The coalescence of an imaginary of money and the creation of cultures disposed to accumulation were developments related to 55 Counterpoints, critiques, dialogues 55 the growing engagement of civilisations from the sixteenth century onwards as transatlantic colonialism linked the Western hemisphere to civilisations across Eurasia. Extending

in Debating civilisations

Arnason at different points. Collaboration and debate have been watchwords in international relations also. A common scholarly public engaged through conferences, publications and personal communication has added to a larger ‘conversation’ around contemporary civilisational analysis. Researchers who foreground early modernities cooperated in a similar manner. That particular research path seems to have petered out after 2005, however, with a lack of consensus about ‘when’ early modernities coalesced. The field came to be dominated by problematics of multiple modernities

in Debating civilisations

a modern notion of aesthetics on contemporary critical practices, it is worth giving further consideration both to the relationship between modernity and early modernity, and to the role of the aesthetic within modernity itself. It will then be possible to look to an early modern text on the role and functions of art, Sidney’s A Defence of Poetry, in order to begin to address more fully my opening question. Hugh Grady has been one of the most consistently interested critics of recent years in the modernity of the early modern, and in a series of books he has

in The new aestheticism
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Seas, oceans and civilisations

two world zones grew with the intensification of imperial and civilisational rivalries. Colonisation of the Pacific Ocean followed, slowly, beginning in the late eighteenth century. Perspectives and problematics brought up in Chapters 2 and 3 are relevant to the modernity of colonialism, as it might be considered within civilisational analysis. A focus on inter-​oceanic links could lead to a scaled-​up version of connected histories reconceptualised as connected oceanic regions. Early modernities can be reframed as processes of inter-​civilisational engagement

in Debating civilisations
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civilisational models. Seen from this angle, the diversification of forms of power is more evident. My three examples of China, the Sanskrit Empire of the first millennium and the Iberian world order of early modernity give a fraction of insight into the diversity of combinations. Such are the connections of civilisations. Chapters  4 and 5 also pay closer attention to Latin America and begin to touch on Oceania as an islander civilisation. With a focus on inter-​civilisational engagement, it becomes easier to see how the societies of the Americas and Oceania are

in Debating civilisations

social organisations produced by modernity.35 Contrasting the nation-state with other polities, Giddens argued that the contemporary state attempts to construct a bordered homogeneity over its territory, which it is able to do by utilising the extensive bureaucratic power that came with the industrial advances of early modernity. He traced the emergence of the nation-state to three developments, each related to the military. These were the technological development of armaments, the amplification of military administrative power and the importance of naval power in

in The formation of Croatian national identity

relationships. At the same time, this is odd for a perspective which was otherwise so sensitive to industrial histories of innovation. The additional factor is that corn and cloth were, in early modernity, stabilised by considerably more than methodological strategies. Even where there was already considerable innovation in these goods, or the ways in which they were processed, sold and understood, they were held in place by a range of regulatory structures. To be clear: they were fixed by regulation, not by the cruder materiality or physicality of a temporally earlier, less

in Market relations and the competitive process
Imaginaries, power, connected worlds

Japan as competing epicentres (see Arnason, 2002; Robertson, 1992: 85–​96). In the different modes 100 100 Debating civilisations of late Asian capitalisms, we find fusions in culture and political economy epitomising inter-​civilisational engagement. Braudel as a historian of modern capitalism who is outside all of the frameworks discussed above had something in common with them. He pointedly cautioned against positing capitalism as a single system unresponsive to cultural patterns and social orders. He thought that cultural mixes were the most plentiful in early

in Debating civilisations
Critical and historical contexts of the Lord Mayor’s Show

just pedantry. If we are, as Peter Meredith puts it, to restore the ‘human dimension’ of ‘theatrical activity or entertainment’ ‘it seems . . . to be important to tell the stories, to draw together the characters where they can be drawn together, [and] to set them against what background there is’.54 Maureen Quilligan has also recently argued that if we ask what . . . objects and the material practices associated with them might look like if we didn’t insist that they mark early modernity, but remain embedded in a particular moment in time, we might be in a better

in Pageantry and power