By Johann P. Arnason

The growing to be 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 important survey of classical and modern techniques to comparative civilizational research. It is going directly to define a theoretical version that pulls at the paintings of historic 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 monetary associations. The final bankruptcy applies this line of argument to questions raised by way of critics of Eurocentrism and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of post-colonial concept.

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

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Talcott Parsons’ analysis of modernity and its origins, quoted above in a different context, is an obvious case in point. As Parsons sees it, the main direct source of Western modernizing potential is to be found in Christian culture, more precisely in the latter’s ability to maintain a relatively high level of ‘differentiation from the social system with which it was interdependent’ (Parsons, 1971: 29). The innovative force thus released—and more effectively mobilized through the Reformation—was in the long run transmuted into more dynamic and universal value-orientations which set modern society apart from traditional structures and at the same time allow us to see it as the culmination of an evolutionary process.

The two approaches are obviously not incompatible: if Confucianism was essentially a transformer of older traditions, its effects may at least in part have been conducive to readjustments which could outlast its official presence. If we want to single out the aspects most capable of transfer to modern practices and institutions, they are more likely to be found on the level of very general modes of thought, rather than in the distinctive contents from which the Chinese tradition derived its cultural frameworks of power.

During the period most frequently singled out as the turning-point towards ‘early modern’ developments), the very long-term trend of imperial withdrawal from direct involvement in the economy was for some time counterbalanced by policies which Paul J. ’ Together with other strategies of different kinds, they reflect the interests and ideas of an assertive scholar-official elite whose institutional basis was compatible with strikingly diverse projects, but the activistic current would not have gained such prominence without the constraints of a situation which some scholars describe as a permanent war economy, developed in response to the changing power balance on the northern frontiers.

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