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By Johann P. Arnason

The becoming 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 valuable to this box of social inquiry. This quantity includes a systematic and demanding survey of classical and modern ways to comparative civilizational research. It is going directly to define a theoretical version that pulls at the paintings of old 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 self sustaining dynamics of political and fiscal associations. The final bankruptcy applies this line of argument to questions raised through critics of Eurocentrism and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of post-colonial concept.

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Extra info for Civilizations in Dispute: Historical Questions and Theoretical Traditions (International Comparative Social Studies)

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Although his main concern was with the structure of traditional Indian society (and with India as the most revealing example of a traditional society), the concluding comments on recent changes are more relevant to our purposes: they deal with the mutual adaptation of caste institutions and democratic procedures. According to Dumont, it is the pursuit of interests through competition for political power and influence that provides an opening for caste strategies within the democratic order. In this context, castes begin to function as ‘collective individuals’; as a result, they strive for a higher level of formal organization on a more supra-local basis than could be envisaged in their traditional setting, but at the same time, ‘caste values circumscribe and encompass modern ferments’ (Dumont, 1980: 283).

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. If Eisenstadt’s analyses of European civilization are mainly centred on cultural orientations and their relationship to power structures, the criteria of modernity as a new civilization must be defined on the same level; the mutation which marks its breakthrough consists in a maximizing combination of the transformative cultural trends mentioned above, reinforced by new and allembracing cultural visions, and channelled into more radical political dynamics.

Permeate every sphere of Chinese society, in the same way that individuation and law permeate every sphere of Western society’ (Hamilton, 1990: 98). F. Billeter’s interpretation of it (1993)—suggest that the Confucian moment might be best understood as a rationalizing, humanizing and moralizing twist to archaic cultural patterns which had to be restructured in response to a changing social environment. The imaginary significations of order, rulership and hierarchy are, on this view, central to a primary civilizational layer which proved exceptionally capable of adapting to later transformations.

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