Samuel Huntington’s Argument in “The Clash of Civilizations”


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Essay #: 055453
Total text length is 6,455 characters (approximately 4.5 pages).

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The beginning:
Samuel Huntington's Argument in "The Clash of Civilizations”
Samuel Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations” has been so enormously influential that one is almost embarrassed to look beneath its bed-coverings and find a number of theoretical and analytical gaps. The article is so frequently held to be prophetic that it takes a special effort of will to read it afresh; however, doing so yields some interesting and surprising insights.
Huntington’s argument is essentially that the conflicts of the future will be conflicts between civilizations (22), which he conceptualizes as the broadest groupings of society (non-reducible to other groupings) with which people self-identify, and which he operationalizes by listing eight civilizations,...
The end:
.....alism already does the work that Huntington wants civilizations to do.
In a book of comic essays, Woody Allen parodied Nostradamus by making an absurdly vague prediction along the lines of ‘Two nations will go to war. One will win and citing the accuracy of this prediction as proof of his amazing foreknowledge. At bottom, Huntington’s work is hardly more enlightening; he, too, predicts that civilizations will fight, but then refuses to define what the fighting will look like, refrains from predicting what might trigger the fighting, and applies so broad an operational definition of civilization that his so-called prediction cannot but come true.
Huntington, Samuel. “The Clash of Civilizations.” Foreign
Affairs (1993) 72:3, 21-49.