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Re: dialogue of civilizations?
by francesco ranci
03 May 2002 10:45 UTC
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Civilization has more to do with rules, and culture
with values. (The city has often being a site of
discussion about rules - whence, maybe, the
ethimological root remains somehow alive).

Cultures and civilizations are more consistent than
individuals; i.e. you find a catholic church at a
walking distance from almost every house in Italy, but
they are different from each others in style; you
always find a priest there, but he is not aways
sexually abusing children (as far as we know,
otherwise we would have to consider pedophilia as a
new characteristics of catholic culture).

Individual identity is just as "fictious" (a useful
fiction, however) as are collective and physical
identity. After writing this message, I am somehow
changed as an individual. And more than the "wsn"
collective entity of readers will be changed. And more
than my keybord or chair will be after I'm done.

Best Regards,

--- Boris Stremlin <bstremli@binghamton.edu> wrote:
> Why are civilizations equated with Huntington's
> civilizations?  Don't
> Braudel, McNeill, Hodgson use the term in fruitful
> ways?
> Isn't the term world-system (hyphenated or not)
> often a reified
> abstraction?  Why isthe tendency to reify particular
> characteristics
> attributed to the civilization concept alone?
> Aren't the two concepts genetically related (as per
> Wallerstein's
> explicitly stated organic metaphor in Volume I of
> _The Modern
> World-System_?)
> On Thu, 2 May 2002 KSamman@aol.com wrote:
> > Greetings,
> >
> > In agreement with Frank, the Huntingtonites of the
> world assume that a "people" or culture possess
> distinctive and fixed attributes and beliefs that
> can be neatly bounded as self-sustaining islands.
> >
> > I find Edward Said useful in this respect.  The
> civilizational discourse is situated in a context of
> power. It is a form of a discourse, a way of dealing
> with the Other "by making statements about it,
> authorizing views of it, describing it, by teaching
> it, settling it, ruling over it... an accepted grid
> for filtering the Orient into Western
> consciousness."  On the other side of this
> construction, the "oriental," in his essentialist
> response, filters the "West" in an effort to create
> an authentic self.
> >
> > Hence, the civilization under discussion is
> produced not from some internal or essential,
> compartmentalized container called Islam or the
> West, but from the back and forth traffic, or
> structures, that bind these two entities together. 
> There is no occident without the orient just like
> there is no capital without labor.  To separate the
> two as separate structures is to miss the power and
> inequality that shaped and formed them. This is the
> problem with the Huntingtonites.  By missing the
> link (power), you are in fact politically favoring
> those who have power: they are who they are
> (underdeveloped, uncivilized, nonscientific,
> religious, fundamentalist, antimodernist,
> collectivist, antiliberal) and we are who we are
> (civilized, developed, scientific, secular,
> democratic...).  The "other" is a civilization with
> its own cultural logic.  It is where it is because
> of its own internal characteristic.  Leave me, "the
> West," out of it.
> >
> > I'll see you all next Tuesday.
> >
> > Best,
> > Khaldoun
> >
> >
> >
> >
> -- 
> Boris Stremlin
> bstremli@binghamton.edu

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