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Intercivilizational Conflict: Some Guidelines and Some Fault Lines

Fania Oz-Salzberger

Faculty of Law, University of Haifa; Princeton University, Center for Human Values; Monash University

April 6, 2010

Intercivilizational conflict has prospered in public and academic discourse since Samuel P. Huntington’s 1993 essay, “The Clash of Civilizations?” which gave new currency to a far older theme. It spread independent wings as fundamentalist Islam, and the fear thereof, peaked on and after September 11, 2001. This article offers several points of order. It examines the historical semantics of both “culture" and “civilization,” tracing the conceptual tension between them in the history of European thought. Along the way, it dwells on philosophers, social theorists and novelists from the eighteenth century to the present. It then proposes a reconsideration of the early 19th-century distinction between culture and civilization, associating the merits and tensions of distinctiveness with the former and allotting universal values to the latter. Finally, it considers contemporary problems weighing on the useful distinction between - and desirable cohabitation of - cultural pluralism and civil universalism.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 11

Keywords: Intercivilizational Conflict, Clash of Civilizations, Huntington, culture, civilization, pluralism, universalism

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Date posted: April 7, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Oz-Salzberger, Fania, Intercivilizational Conflict: Some Guidelines and Some Fault Lines (April 6, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1585445 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1585445

Contact Information

Fania Oz-Salzberger (Contact Author)
Faculty of Law, University of Haifa ( email )
Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905
Princeton University, Center for Human Values ( email )
22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States

Monash University ( email )
Wellington Road
Victoria, Roodepoort 3145
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