Civilizations in Dispute: Historical Questions and by Johann P. Arnason

By Johann P. Arnason

The transforming into curiosity in civilizations, either at the point of political controversy ("the conflict of civilizations") and within the context of scholarly debates, demands extra theoretical mirrored image at the difficulties and views vital to this box of social inquiry. This quantity features a systematic and demanding survey of classical and modern techniques to comparative civilizational research. It is going directly to define a theoretical version that pulls at the paintings of ancient sociologists in addition to on comparative cultural and highbrow. Civilizations are analysed as multi-dimensional formations, with specific emphasis on cultural orientations, but additionally at the independent dynamics of political and financial associations. The final bankruptcy applies this line of argument to questions raised via critics of Eurocentrism and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of post-colonial thought.

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As he sees it, the most momentous impact of Protestantism has to do with fundamental premises of modernity (especially in regard to changes in the relationship between religion and politics), rather than with any particular effects on capitalist development, and the modernizing potential of the Reformation could only be realized in conjunction with other factors which affected the overall direction of change. As for the more specific aspects of modernization, with particular reference to its pioneering European version, Eisenstadt’s approach leads to some significant shifts of emphasis.

Eisenstadt’s account of European antecedents to the original modernizing process goes beyond earlier views in its sustained emphasis on internal pluralism; this focus allows a more adequate grasp of the medieval world and its legacy; in contrast to Parsons, there is no suggestion that the complex interplay of specific transformative factors can be reduced to an acceleration of general trends. In brief, the historical trajectory of the premodern West appears as an innovative pattern in its own right, and the rediscovery of its civilizational dimensions calls for a reappraisal of its modernizing sequel.

E. the rediscoveries of classical traditions by the rising West, have no parallel in the two other civilizational complexes, but they drew—in decisive yet different ways—on both Byzantine and Islamic links to antiquity. Finally, the early dynamic of Western expansion and the subsequent transition to a later phase were closely linked to confrontation with the two neighbouring civilizations. On the one hand, the first sustained push beyond cultural boundaries—the crusades—was in the first instance directed against a resurgent Islam, but its main effect was to damage the Byzantine realm beyond repair and thus to pave the way for a new and unprecedented challenge from the Islamic side; on the other hand, a more successful local counter-offensive against Islamic expansion—on the Iberian peninsula—helped to consolidate the states which then took the lead in the first wave of early modern overseas expansion.

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