Barbarians and Civilisation in International Relations

Barbarians and Civilisation in International Relations

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The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington have led to popular conceptions of Muslims as terrorists. Some commentators have harked back to the 'Clash of Civilizations' argument outlined by Samuel Huntington which has become a touchstone in postcolonial studies. Huntington argued that, after the collapse of the Cold War, culture would become the main axis of conflict for civilizational alliances. Mark Salter takes issue with Huntington's theory and explains how the terms of his argument are part of an imperialist discourse that casts other civilizations as essentially barbarian. Although many commentators have engaged with Huntington's claims, few have pursued the political implications of his argument. Barbarians and Civilisation offers a decisive exploration of the colonial rhetoric inherent in current political discourse. Charting the usefulness of concepts of culture and identity for understanding world politics, Salter brilliantly illustrates the benefits and the limitations of the civilized/barbarian dichotomy in international relations.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 135.1 x 218.9 x 14.7mm | 353.81g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745319017
  • 9780745319018
  • 1,563,790

About Mark B. Salter

Mark B. Salter is Assistant Professor at The American University in Cairo. He is currently working on a history of the passport in world politics.
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Review quote

"Salter aims to trace the evolution and impact of barbarian-civilizational discourse in international relations. Using a postmodern, constructivist perspective, the author describes and critiques past efforts to classify nations by relying on a dualistic conceptual approach--or what he terms a "two world" model. His analysis focuses on European imperialism, European wartime atrocities, decolonization, and the post-Cold War debate over cultural conflict. Salter's analysis challenges the use of concepts that oversimplify political reality and offer a simplistic, normative orientation that presumptively favors Western culture. After tracing different manifestations of this dualistic model over the past two centuries, Salter critiques the ideas of contemporary thinkers, including Samuel Huntington, Paul Kennedy, Robert Kaplan, and James Barber." -- M. Amstutz, Wheaton College in CHOICE
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Table of contents

1. Introduction 2. Civilization And Barbarians 3. Empire Of Barbarians 4. A Civilized/Barbaric Europe 5. New Barbarians 6. Decolonizing The Discipline: Forgetting The Imperial Past And The Imperial Present 7. New Barbarians, Old Barbarians: Post-Cold War IR Theory "Everything Old Is New Again" 8. Conclusion: The Return Of Culture, Identity, Civilization And Barbarians To IR. 9. Epilogue: New Barbarians, New Civilizations, And No New Clashes Notes Bibliography Index
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