Jeremy C.A. Smith
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Japan in engagement and the discourses of civilisation

When it comes to the specific field of contemporary civilisational analysis, Johann P. Arnason, Robert Bellah and S. N. Eisenstadt have produced in-depth monographs and numerous essays on Japanese civilisation. For Eisenstadt, Japan was an unusual de-axialising civilisation (1996). In its digestion and relativisation of the world religions, Japan had a foundational moment in which a pattern of ontological dualism was established. Worldwide cultural exploration of many other countries, along with an outgrowth of trade, stimulated an overhaul of the conceptual apparatus of Japan's political culture. The commitment to international knowledge by the Meiji elite had oriented the Japanese to an outside universality and situated their society in an international order that included a normative standard of civilisation. New perspectives emerged after linguistic consolidation of a discourse of civilisations and after the heightening of consciousness around the standard of civilisation.

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Debating civilisations

Interrogating civilisational analysis in a global age


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