Civilizations, or rather narratives about civilizations, matter, not only as research subjects in textbooks, literary and scientific essays, but also in politics. This seems to be the case in "civilizational states" such as China, Russia, Turkey and Syria. Also in Western countries, in recent decades, the notion of civilization has often been used in public discourse: political parties and leaders have referred in particular to the need to protect Western civilization, calling in this regard for policies to restrict immigration from Muslim countries. In 2022 the narrative on civilization was used to legitimize the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The studies in this collected volume reconstruct how civilizational paradigms and narratives have been used to explain political relations, to define the global order, to justify attempts to gain hegemony over particular geopolitical areas, and to make predictions on global developments in specific times of crisis. In particular, this book analyzes the concepts of civilization as they have been used in the intellectual and political discourse in periods particularly critical for global relations and for the consolidation or contestation of the West’s dominant role in international, national politics and academic discourse.
Patricia Chiantera-Stutte is Associate Professor of History of Political Thought at University of Bari.
Giovanni Borgognone is Associate Professor of History of Political Thought at University of Torino.
Introduction: Assembling the Civilizational Jigsaw by Giovanni Borgognone and Patricia Chiantera-Stutte
Chapter 1: Challenges to the West: Civilizational Theory, Imperialism, and Liberal Internationalism by Patricia Chiantera-Stutte
Chapter 2: An Historian’s Approach to Civilization: Arnold J. Toynbee and the Study of International Affairs in the Twentieth Century by Luca G. Castellin
Chapter 3: Governable Masses and Manageable Democracy: Samuel Huntington and the Origins of the Clash of Civilizations Theory by Giovanni Borgognone
Chapter 4: The ‘Western’ Roots of Democracy: A Geopolitical Dilemma by Paulo Butti de Lima
Chapter 5:Pan-Islamism and Pan-Arabism: Debating Possible Convergences in Responses to Modernity by Marco Di Donato
Chapter 6: From Pan-Asianism to an Afro-Asian Solidarity: Notions and Connotations of Civilization in the Context of Chinese Revolution, 1900-1966 by Zhiguang Yin
Chapter 7: Civilizationism in Russia from the Slavophiles to Vladimir Putin by Kåre Johan Mjør
Conclusion: A Challenge for the Global Society? by Giovanni Borgognone and Patricia Chiantera-Stutte
Original and richly researched, this book lays bare the entangled and global history of civilizational thought. It is a much-needed guide to a world which remains caught up in such modes of thinking.
A fascinating, timely and perceptive set of essays exploring how ideas of civilization are used to justify a wide variety of political agendas from liberal democracy to ethno-nationalist authoritarianism.
Borgognone and Chiantera-Stutte have edited a truly fascinating collection of essays. This book convincingly and intelligently challenges many well-established views about the idea of civilization, examining in-depth how the latter has been used and misused in the past. It is a very welcome addition to the field!