Compare and Contrast of the Arguments in Huntington's "The Clash of Civilizations and Said's "The Clash of Ignorance

1156 Words Mar 26th, 2011 5 Pages
Samuel Huntington has made famous his thesis "the clash of civilizations", which was developed in his article in Foreign Affairs in 1993 and in the book that followed, in which the author expanded his thesis and reaffirmed the validity of his theory after the success and controversy that followed the publication of his article. In fact, the “civilizational” approach of conflicts today is now intrinsically linked to a comprehensive theory of international relations, which Samuel Huntington has developed by giving it an important value and a dominant paradigm

Reacting to the theory of Fukuyama, Samuel P. Huntington resumed the expression "Clash of civilizations" in 1993 and speculates that it is mainly cultural and religious identities
…show more content…
The criticism on this point driven primarily by Edward Said, accuses Huntington to be an ideologue who wants to make cultures and identities, sealed-off, purged of all currents and contradictions that animate human history, and for centuries "have allowed not only to contain wars of religion and imperial conquests, but also to be a story of exchanges, cross fertilization and sharing. This far less visible history is ignored in the rush to highlight the ludicrously compressed and constricted warfare that “the clash of civilizations” argues is the reality.”

Many critics have violently attacked Samuel Huntington for its notions of “civilization identity” and the seven or eight civilizations. Said has easily detected a number of inconsistencies and contradictions in Huntington’ explanation of the concepts. Huntington’ “clash of civilizations” is partly based on the work of Bernard Lewis, whose ideological colors are clear in the title of his book “The Roots of Muslim Rage” to justify its thinking. But Said says that neither of them have had time, nor have bothered to look into the dynamics and plurality of the different civilisations, and the fact that “the major contest in most modern cultures concerns the definition or interpretation of each culture, or for the unattractive possibility that a great deal of demagogy and downright ignorance is involved in presuming to speak for a whole religion or civilisation.”

Said goes on and argue that,

Related Documents