Academic journal article Comparative Civilizations Review

Commentary from the President

Academic journal article Comparative Civilizations Review

Commentary from the President

Article excerpt

With regard to the 21 pages of definitions of "civilizations" mentioned above, I suggest a different perspective. The fascination with definitions needs to be balanced by a stress on civilizational analysis and a pluralist conception of civilizations (rather than civilization, singular) focused on actual comparative studies that reveal how such studies can be carried out and what new insights/discoveries they produce.

What we need to focus on is exemplars of civilizational analysis, works that pioneered the comparative study of civilizations that show us how comparative civilizational analysis can be undertaken, and what innovative things they found out.

Whatever orientation current members of the ISCSC may have, it might be useful to recall the original vision of a "new science of civilizational analysis" that Benjamin Nelson articulated in the early days of the ISCSC in the US. He believed that this new progressive orientation to civilizational study:

will one day-before too long-be found to constitute a 'new science' of civilizational analysis [based on anticipations by outstanding scholars of the past such as Emile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss, Max Weber, Henry Sumner Maine, etc. …

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