View Full Version : Samuel Huntington became Dain?

03-30-2008, 06:26 PM
For those of you who don't know. Samuel Huntington was launched into academic fame for his book The Clash of Civilizations. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clash_of_Civilizations) In short he believed that after the fall of the USSR the world would face conflicts divided along the lines of civilizations.

The most important thing to note about that, is that it was a prediction based on the nature of conflict, and it stood in stark contrast to the voice of neo-liberals of the day. People like Francis Fukuyama had declared the USSR to be the end of history and that with democracy spreading everywhere, there would be no or few conflicts anymore. (lol).

Huntington divided the world into different camps based on commonalities, asia is for asians! muslims together, latin america, etc. etc. There was only a handful, I can't remember if it was 7 or 13, but about that many groups he mentioned.

Now it's certainly a more realistic interpretation of views than the neo-liberal attitude. But even when I first discovered Huntington as a young marxist I felt that it was oversimplified. The idea that conflict is culture-based more than anything else seemed quite oversimplified. However if you take the reverse, the creation of allies based on similar culture does make sense, I just don't accept the reverse as necessarily being the basis of conflict. In fact it still seems ridiculous.

Either way it's a highly respected theory despite my opinion. :p

And now while reading an article on integration, I came across several quotes by Samuel Huntington stating that he believed that Mexicans posed a threat to American national identity. (the example was something like that every other nationality that had ever immigrated into the US was able to perfectly integrate in around 3 generations, and yet Latinos have not achieved the magic 3rd generation integration accomplishment.)

(To note the article I was reading went on later to show that Latino integration was in fact progressing and not regressing into what Samuel Huntington feared.)

But seriously, wtf? When did that happen? And apparently it's something he's been saying since at least 2004. wtf?

03-31-2008, 09:35 PM
I read Huntingon's paper on modernity written in the '70s, I believe. I don't think he's stupid.

I haven't read the Clash of Civilizations. However, If I had to guess, it's probably a model based on correlative statistics. As such, it's supposed to be oversimplified because models are never all-inclusive.

Regarding his hypothesis, it's not crazy at all as If it is what I think it is (again, haven't read the book). There is certainly an internationalization or universalization movement happening. People around the world are increasingly adopting universalistic norms and standards such as common business etiquette or the necessity of efficiency and ponctuality. Traditional institutions are fading away or accepting new roles, the power of nation states declines and with it declines their power to shelter their citizens, languages are dying, capitalism is growing and spread as a political apparatus.

What is culture nowadays? What is American culture that is distinctly American? Is it shaped by nationalism or some other force?