The Class of Civilizations

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The article "The Clash of Civilizations?" by Samuel P. Huntington is an intriguing view on how modern day civilizations have grown to become cultural and economic entities trying to make new identities for themselves. A civilization is defined as the broadest cultural grouping of people. It contains a group of people with common languages, history, religion, and customs.

Huntington states in his hypothesis "the great division among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be culture." Huntington sees the Western civilization, consisting of mainly the United States and most of Europe, as a dominate civilization. He expresses the opinion that due to the differences among religion, language, customs, and history the economic and political growth of westernization and modernization of civilizations such as the Islamic civilization has caused conflict. Huntington believes that "conflict between civilizations will be the latest phase in the evolution of conflict in the modern world." As people search to define their ethnic and religious identity there becomes a more prevalent "us" verses "them" relationship emerging between different cultures. For example, the attempts to bring the West's political and religious views to the Arab-Islamic civilization have created many intense situations in the relationship between the two. The ideology to promote ones values and beliefs has created "fault lines," as Huntington calls them between civilizations. The fault lines have been reshaped many times throughout history due to changes in political, religious, social and economic identities.

Huntington's regards to the reality of ethnic and religious identities is as follows, "civilization identity will be increasingly important in the future, and the world in large will be measured by the interactions among seven or eight major civilizations." He follows up by elaborating on how these interactions become the turning point in civilization interaction....
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