Samuel P Huntington Thesis

Samuel P Huntington Thesis-45
The ambiguity and lack of nuance in Huntington’s use of these terms reflects a disconnect between his theoretical argument and cultural reality, illustrated by the fact that the individuals involved in Islamic terrorist organizations constitute an extremist minority, which Huntington does not recognize.

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Thus, a political culture argument has clear relevance in offering an explanation of the “new phase” of world politics.

Huntington’s critics would not dispute this fact; they would only challenge his anecdotal assertions, level of analysis and his unquestioning construction of civilizations based primarily on religion.

Firstly, India is a majority Hindu state; therefore the attack could be viewed, consistent with Huntington, as a “clash of civilizations” between Hinduism and Islam.

[14] This interpretation seems unlikely given the sizeable Muslim population in India; more plausible is the argument that considers location of the attack as significant.

The current conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims and Kurds in Iraq and the fighting of August 2008 between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia, demonstrate not only that conflict within civilizations occurs for reasons unrelated to religion – most important civilizational identifier according to Huntington, – but also that conflict is always more nuanced than macro-level labels such as “the West” and “Islam” imply.

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In terms of the dichotomy between Islam and the West, the Mumbai terrorist attack deserves special attention with regard to Huntington’s thesis.[2] Speaking to these descriptions and offering both an accurate and candid assessment of the book, Tipson perceptively argues, “His book conveys a challenge, like he wants us to refute him.Daring us, by scaring us, to doubt him or dispute him. As long as someone powerful won’t act on what he’s saying.” See, Frederick S.It is his use of broad concepts – language, history, religion, customs and institutions – that define and categorize these civilizations and especially religion as the most important differentiator between civilizations that is problematic.Thus, although Huntington would disagree, theoretically simple, naturally subjective and inherently problematic are arguably the best descriptions of his article.[2] While cultural explanations of world politics and global interaction do have obvious merit; its normative underpinnings combined with the wholesale labels Huntington attaches to different “civilizations” makes it difficult to “test” his analysis empirically.[3] Moreover, Huntington’s generalizations and assumptions about the “new phase” of world politics that are based largely on anecdotal evidence and subjective interpretation of that evidence invites criticism.Mumbai as the financial capital of India is perhaps the most Western-looking part of the country in terms of economic outlook and cultural values and in fact for this reason has for many, become representative of “the West”.In light of this argument, the seemingly irreconcilable division Huntington draws between “the West” and “Islam” actually breaks down in this case.Ostensibly it seems that an attack on India, as a non-Western nation and a country with a large, but minority Muslim population would disprove his argument.If this disconfirmation is correct then this attack would be an example of conflict a civilization, however this argument offers only a partial explanation of this attack.E-IR publishes student essays & dissertations to allow our readers to broaden their understanding of what is possible when answering similar questions in their own studies.Huntington’s basic argument is simple: “the conflicts of the future will occur along cultural fault lines separating civilizations”[1] (25).


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