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A Clash of Civilizations?

Pegida and the Rise of Cultural Nationalism

David N. Coury

ideology given that “gender mainstreaming” is no less controversial in the Islamic world. Clash of Civilizations? At the heart of Pegida’s ideology, is the so-called “clash of civilizations,” a term popularized by Samuel P. Huntington in his article

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The Concept of Civilization in Spain, 1754-2005

From Progress to Identify

Javier Fernández Sebastián

The aim of this article is to give an account of the main uses of the concept of Civilization in Spain, in political and intellectual debates, from its origins in the mid-eighteenth century to the present. In the Spanish case, the evolution of this notion is initially marked by the special circumstances of a country relatively backward in comparison with some of the principal "enlightened" European countries, but at the same time an Imperial monarchy, possessing very extensive territories inhabited by people considered as yet "uncivilized". Furthermore, the long struggles in the medieval Iberian peninsula between Christians and Muslims also had a strong influence on certain characteristics of the political uses of the concept of civilization in modern Spain. Recently, the impact of the supposed "Clash of Civilizations" has added a new twist to the range of meanings of the word, employed more and more frequently in a cultural-religious sense. So, between the Enlightenment and post-modernity, the notion of civilization would have moved away from the sphere of Progress to a very different conceptual space: that of Identity.

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Interreligious Dialogue in Conflict Situations

Hamideh Mohagheghi

‘Clash of civilizations’, ‘discord between the religions’: terms that, in different variations, have constantly accompanied us in recent times. Some believe that conflicts between cultures and religions are unavoidable; others claim that it is only the religions that can guarantee or prevent peace on earth. At the moment, the fact that there could possibly be causes for conflict other than religion seems not to be noticed or to be purposely ignored.

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Civil Societies and Uncivil Times

The Rubber Band Ball of Transnational Tensions

Brian Callan

This article introduces a special issue of Contention Journal addressing various contemporary mobilizations of civil society in response to the war in Syria and the migration of refugees into Europe. With contributions from Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Canada, the Czech Republic and Germany, the cases represent a breadth of multidisciplinary approaches and a variety of stylistic standpoints, from statistical media analysis to troubled personal reflections of engaged activist academics. The subject matter ranges from political mobilization against authoritarianism and austerity, transnational philanthropy, the emergence of local grassroots voluntary aid to right-wing populist nationalism. Though diverse, a coherent narrative is seen to converge around the refugee crisis as it unfolds in Europe; one of radical polarization within civil societies and starkly conflicting imaginaries of social futures that claim to preclude the legitimacy of other possibilities. At the same time alliances are being generated beyond borders in an attempt to bolster ideological capacity, authority, and force. This is not a clash of civilizations but the rubber band ball of transnational tension, a strained, chaotic and overlapping global contestation. At stake is the understanding of what a civil society should be.

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Dialectics of Islam and Global Modernity

Mohammed A. Bamyeh

The globalization of modernity obviously exceeds in its profundity the signifiers of open pathways and commodity circulation—clothing, music, food, and so on—tend to capture much of our immediate attention. In the first place, among tales of cultural dissemination modernity has the unique feature that it made its epoch without a heroic duel with any opposing force. The effort expended today to magnify the scale of supposedly ‘anti-modern’ fanaticism, or to force the world into the logic of a clash of ‘civilizations’ notwithstanding, the globalization of modernity owes much to the fact that, in its broadest outlines, it has never been truly rejected by any significant force in any society. Hardly any commentator on modernity, after all, defines the term in ways, which, upon closer inspection, reveal anything in modernity that should be anathema to social processes and longings everywhere. If we define modernity in terms of material outcomes—prosperity, longevity, lack of scarcity, leisure time, better communication systems, better housing, education, a wider range of consumer commodities—it is hard to see how any of this could be opposed by anybody, although these outcomes may be rejected by ascetic monks in any society, modern or not. If we define modernity in terms of social structure, such as predominantly urban life and within it a strong bourgeois class, it is easy to see that this outcome has been the conscious goal of policies in most of the world even before the termination of the alternative path of East bloc socialism.

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Portrait

José Casanova

Hubert Knoblauch, Grace Davie, Kim Knibbe, Manuel A. Vásquez, and José Casanova

José Casanova’s Public Religions in the Modern World (1994) has transformed the study of religion quite considerably. As I recall, the book was received relatively slowly in its first years. Casanova’s thesis gained momentum with the escalating focus on religion after 9/11 and the ensuing publicity for Huntington’s (1996) thesis of an imminent clash of civilizations. While many only then turned to the study of religion, Casanova had already prepared the ground for a global comparative approach with his path-breaking diagnosis of the state of religion in the different modes of modernity. The growing reception of Casanova’s thesis was accompanied by the increasing interest of political science (and politics in general) in religion. In fact, Casanova has shed new light specifically on the role of religion in politics. Furthermore, his thesis on ‘public religion’ has had profound impacts on the long-lasting debate on secularization in the humanities as well as in the public domain. In this respect, there is no doubt that Casanova has contributed a major, classic work to the social study of religion.

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Introduction

Performing Religion

Ruy Llera Blanes, Sondra L. Hausner, and Simon Coleman

the viewpoint of gender and sexuality and against the backdrop of the ‘clash of civilizations’ trope. in this section, readers engage the text and its author from the perspective of a sex education research and action program based in the Netherlands

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Around Joan Wallach Scott’s Sex and Secularism

Kim Knibbe, Brenda Bartelink, Jelle Wiering, Karin B. Neutel, Marian Burchardt, and Joan Wallach Scott

different fronts and play out again and again around the role of Islam. It provides the historical background to an argument that Scott and others have been putting forward with some force for several years now: that within the ‘clash of civilization’ trope

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Afterword

Peter Hervik

with the work of Bernard Lewis (1990) and Samuel Huntington (1993) on clashes of civilization, which became decontextualized from its Euro-American origin as well, only to become recontextualized as potent anti-American discourses and practices in

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Book Reviews

Zora Kostadinova and Chakad Ojani

understanding of why certain narratives of jihad still appeal to many Muslims. This underpins a critique of the insufficiency of Edward Said's influential intervention on de-essentializing Islam, which highlights, unlike Samuel Huntington's clash of