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Imaginaries, power, connected worlds

79 4 Inter-​civilisational engagement: imaginaries, power, connected worlds Chapter  4 of Debating Civilisations outlines the conceptual framework of inter-​ civilisational engagement, thus establishing the groundwork for the deeper studies of Part II. The stress in Part II is on a new approach that critically harnesses the best research in civilisational analysis, history and sociology that focuses on interaction between civilisations.The new approach joins existing civilisational analysis with an appreciation of the imaginary creation of forms of interaction

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.

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. Castoriadis’s theory of the imaginary institution informs my development of a notion of inter-​civilisational engagement in which civilisations acquire meaning at the point of inter-​relationship with other social, historical and cultural forms; that is, other civilisational patterns, to use Arnason’s phrase. To recount, there are four dimensions to this inter-​relationship. Interaction occurs through migration, economic relations, cultural exchange and the extension of models of polity and civilisation. The four dimensions of inter-​civilisational engagement featured in

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

‘new world’ settler-​colonial societies in the Americas and the Pacific. Moreover, Arnason’s conception of civilisations still precludes indigenous cultures qua civilisational forms. Both of these problematic aspects are raised in the development of a version of civilisational analysis focused on imaginaries, on power and on deep and dense inter-​civilisational engagement. The outline below of a conception of social imaginaries and power relate the problematic aspects to inter-​civilisational engagement. Cornelius Castoriadis’s theory of the social imaginary (1987

in Debating civilisations
Perspectives on civilisation in Latin America

world societies and indigenous civilisations sum up the landscape of contemporary civilisational analysis at the time of writing. Where civilisational analysis has stretched its latitude to examine African, new world and indigenous civilisations, only limited progress has been made. This chapter begins to address these lacunae with modest moves to apply the model of inter-​civilisational engagement outlined in Chapters 4 and 5 to modern 152 152 Debating civilisations perspectives in culture and the arts, politics, theology and political economy produced in Latin

in Debating civilisations

experience of engagement with the West and other countries. Japan’s multiple engagements occurred in specific contexts of cultural transactions across what were defined –​though ultimately contingent –​civilisational boundaries. My focus is on contested conceptions of ‘civilisation’ thrown up by inter-​civilisational engagement in East Asia. 170 170 Debating civilisations Japan in focus To varying degrees, the three major perspectives on Japan in contemporary civilisational analysis stress the long-​term impulses of development. With the following points I will attempt

in Debating civilisations

of the field are established and the critical counterpoints of competing paradigms assessed  –​the task of Chapter  3  –​ it then becomes possible to explore in greater depth an innovative way of framing the study of civilisations as inter-​civilisational engagement, specifically migration, economic relations, cultural exchange and the re-​creation of models of civilisation. Given that post-​war contexts laid the groundwork for the manner in which contemporary civilisational analysis would be shaped as a paradigm, more explanation on this period is required prior

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

history of the world can add to an elucidation of the dynamic inter-​relation of civilisations with the assemblage of oceanic forces. There are four aspects to this inter-​relation discussed in this chapter and then in Chapter 6. The four aspects criss-​cross the four dimensions of inter-​civilisational engagement. First is the orientation of civilisations to seas and oceans. Many societies exhibit a cultural and perhaps civilisational reluctance to embrace sea-​ going, while others are less hesitant. Creative orientations to seafaring can be seen in the acquisition of

in Debating civilisations

most advanced to date in respect of these goals, but it can be pushed further. Before taking steps towards a model of inter-​civilisational engagement in Chapter 4 and Part II, I reflect, in this chapter, on competing paradigms. What can they offer in terms of the gaps identified towards the end of the previous chapter, or indeed any others? The three competitors in question are globalisation analysis, Marxism and post-​colonial sociology. How they can be situated in relation to contemporary civilisational analysis is the work of this chapter. The method here is to

in Debating civilisations
Open Access (free)
Ontologies of connection, reconstruction of memory

mostly separated in history from Eurasia –​the main nucleus of creation in perspectives of civilisational analysis –​until the sixteenth century. Moreover, successor civilisations were more dispersed in Oceania and the Americas, and inter-​civilisational encounters were uncommon and more restricted. The fates of new and old world societies look different when viewed through the prism of capacity for inter-​civilisational engagement. Examining four major themes, I approach the Pacific as both a new world and an old world. First, the Pacific is made by a long history of

in Debating civilisations