Jeremy C.A. Smith
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Civilisations debated
Uses and critiques of ‘civilisation’

This chapter considers the phrase 'contemporary civilisational analysis' in order to highlight the context and state the purpose claimed by its proponents. It examines the genealogy of the uses of civilisation in early-twentieth-century sources. From the outset, the neologism 'civilisation' culturally presupposed 'barbarism' as an opposite. Cornelius Castoriadis's notion of the imaginary institution of society can be located in a larger field of social imaginaries. When post-colonial sociological responses are compared with perspectives at the interstices of Marxism and civilisational analysis and then of globalisation theory and civilisational analysis, other problematics come to the fore. The chapter also presents key concepts discussed in the book. The book examines inter-civilisational engagement in oceanic and thalassic civilisations. It explores Japan's deeper connections with China and the West and how these have influenced cultural and political thought.

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Debating civilisations

Interrogating civilisational analysis in a global age


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