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Chan, Stephen (2003) 'Reliving the Boxer Uprising; or, the Restricted Meaning of Civilisation.' In: Mandaville, Peter and Williams, Andrew J., (eds.), Meaning and International Relations. London: Routledge. (Routledge Advances in International Relations and Global Politics)

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This chapter is an enlarged version of a review essay commenting on Huntington's book. Although distinguished critics such as Edward Said have lambasted the book in much more influential outlets, Huntington chose to reply, not to Said, but to my own criticisms. Really, the most striking thing about Samuel Huntington's (1996) work on 'civilisations' is the ineptness of its history. It is about the 'West's latest fashion in trying to swing others. If cultures are the bedrock of Huntington's civilisations, the West gets off to almost as divided a start as its opposing 'Islamic' civilisation. The spectacular transcendentalism and eroticism of Sufi Islam is something very different from Huntington's image; just as Bosnian Muslims are as 'Western' as their Croat and Serbian antagonists. Huntington's failure is, therefore, a failure of thought and thought's empathy. It is a failure to ascribe meaningfulness to others in the sense of a discursive ascription. It is a face value settlement on rhetoric.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
ISBN: 9780415753500
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2008 15:05

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