Huntington’s Argument

In his work The Clash of Civilizations Samuel P. Huntington presents a new challenging vision of cultural conflicts in the modern world. In his view, the growing role of civilization identity is likely to become the source of the major cultural conflicts. Certainly, it is difficult to reject the truth: we are all different in our religious, cultural, and social beliefs. Simultaneously, these differences may not be as dramatic as Huntington (1997) describes them.

Neither India, nor China would have become the sources of miraculous economic transformation, if not for the cultural change; and Huntington seems to make a mistake, when separating culture from economic and social areas of global human performance. Huntington’s Argument In his work The Clash of Civilizations Samuel P. Huntington presents a new challenging vision of cultural conflicts in the modern world. In his view, the growing role of civilization identity is likely to become the source of the major cultural conflicts.

Huntington (1997) is confident that “differences among civilizations are not only real; they are basic. Civilizations are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition and, most important religion”. The author suggests that North African immigration to France and the process of Asianization in Japan are the bright examples of the ways culture changes civilizations and generates irreversible cultural conflicts at micro- and macro- levels. At first glance, Huntington’s arguments seem rather plausible, but at deeper levels, they generate a whole set of relevant and reasonable objections.

Certainly, it is difficult to reject the truth: we are all different in our religious, cultural, and social beliefs. Simultaneously, these differences may not be as dramatic as Huntington (1997) describes them. “In the past, the elites of non-Western societies were usually the people who were most involved with the West, had been educated at Oxford, the Sorbonne or Sandhurst” (Huntington, 1997); and the current situation is not different from the way it used to be a couple of centuries ago.

The simple fact that Islamic extremists come to the U. S. to study and learn suggests that knowledge and education can serve the basis for global unification of ideas, regardless the religion and culture to which specific learning groups adhere. Huntington (1997) writes that “cultural characteristics and differences are less mutable and hence less easily compromised and resolved than political and economic ones”; but what about the cultural changes brought into Eastern countries from the West?

India and China are the two countries that have been able to adapt to the new cultural environments, and to utilize the best features of global culture for the promotion of their social, economic and cultural growth. Obviously, neither India, nor China would have become the sources of miraculous economic transformation, if not for the cultural change; and Huntington seems to make a mistake, when separating culture from economic and social areas of global human performance.

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