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By Johann P. Arnason

The transforming into 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 relevant to this box of social inquiry. This quantity incorporates a systematic and important survey of classical and modern ways to comparative civilizational research. It is going directly to define a theoretical version that pulls at the paintings of ancient sociologists in addition to on comparative cultural and highbrow. Civilizations are analysed as multi-dimensional formations, with specific emphasis on cultural orientations, but in addition at the self reliant dynamics of political and fiscal associations. The final bankruptcy applies this line of argument to questions raised by means of critics of Eurocentrism and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of post-colonial idea.

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Some observers describe these routinized patterns as ‘meta-Confucian’ (Weggel, 1990) and explain Chinese modernization in terms of their triumph over official Confucianism and resistance to revolutionary projects. The enduring commitment to education as a social value is often mentioned in this context. But when the argument takes a more specific sociological turn, the emphasis is mostly on network-building as a distinctive strategy of institution-building and organization (King, 1991 speaks of ‘the construction of particularistic ties’).

Agreement on this ambiguous nature of Islamist politics does not exclude controversy about its prospects. Ernest Gellner’s various analyses of Islam and modernity stressed the possibility of positive connections; as he saw it, ‘the elective affinity of scripturalist rigorism with the social and political needs of the period of industrialisation or development’ (Gellner, 1981: 61) could become the startingpoint for a long-term adaptation of Islam to industrial society,     27 perhaps more effective than anything achieved by Christian traditions, and the more conjunctural affinity with social radicalism did not rule out a return to the mainstream of modernization.

If a de facto separation or independent development of state structures took place, their inability to claim autonomy is still reflected in a fundamental lack of legitimacy. The uncompromising and all-encompassing character of divine authority set strict limits to all pretensions of worldly authority, and the Islamic tradition remained strong enough to maintain the blockage of legitimation when new strategies of state-building had to be devised in response to Western ascendancy (for a strong and influential formulation of this thesis, cf.

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