Globalization and Civilizations

Globalization and Civilizations

Globalization and Civilizations

Globalization and Civilizations


Globalization and Civilization's challenges established assumptions about the nature of civilizations and the supposed inevitability of the conflict between the Islamic and Western worlds. Uniquely, this edited book critically interrogates the concept of 'civilization' by asking whether it is still valid in the globalized world economy of the twenty-first century. The first half of the book provides an historical and theoretical context to understand the idea of 'civilization' in political science and demonstrates how the various social, economic, political and cultural processes of globalization have radically altered perceptions of civilization. The second half of the book looks particularly at non-Western examples of the interaction between globalization and civilization and includes case studies on the Arab world, Islam, China, India and Europe



Globalization, civilizations and world order

A world-constructivist approach

Mehdi Mozaffari

Why are the three concepts of globalization, civilization and world order relevant? How are they related to each other? This chapter seeks to answer these questions. Answering the first one is simple. Obviously, the current world order cannot be fully understood without taking “globalization” into consideration. The effects of globalization reach every corner of the world in different scope and degree. Why is “civilization” important? It is important because civilization incorporates the essence of world order. Civilization, as we will see later on, contains and reflects economic, social, cultural and political aspects and dimensions of the world order. We define a great civilization as the junction between a world vision and a historical formation. The answer to the second question constitutes the main subject of this chapter. We will (1) analyze the relations between civilization and world identity; (2) explain how globalization is related to world economy; and finally (3) we will bind the three concepts (globalization, civilization and world order) together by proposing three models on world order.

Before going through our study, our theoretical approach will be outlined in brief. There is a general consensus among scholars that globalization is first and foremost of economic character. The advanced technological progress contributes largely to the acceleration of economic globalization as well as globalization of certain sets of values; e.g. human rights. In this respect, the world system theory may be applied to explain the evolution of parochial economic systems to the rise of capitalism and the world economy. The world system theory - especially in its Braudel-Wallerstein ramification - goes even further and deals with questions related to civilization, culture, democracy, etc. (Braudel 1979, 1993; Wallerstein 1992, 1995). However, the primary focus remains on economy without paying much attention to the international system, to phenomena such as anarchy, polarity, international law, international ethics, and in general to questions about the identity of the world. A main part of these aspects of the problematic enters within the field of social constructivism which focuses sufficiently on the interaction between international actors as well as on the quality of anarchy and the identity of states. However, the sphere of economy does not represent a priority for the school of social constructivism. Therefore, a synthesis of these two approaches is assumed to be a useful theoretical explanatory tool to clarify relations between globalization and civilizations,

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