The Myth of the Clash of Civilizations  

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"... book, the clash of civilizations is a political myth that, to a large extent, has successfully turned itself into a self-fulfilled prophecy." --The Myth of the Clash of Civilizations, p.2, Chiara Bottici, ‎Benoît Challand

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Myth of the Clash of Civilizations (2010) by Chiara Bottici ‎and Benoît Challand, a reflection on The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington.


While globalization unifies the world, divisions re-emerge within it in the form of a spectacular separation between Islam and the West. How can it be that Huntington’s contested idea of a clash of civilizations became such a powerful political myth through which so many people look at the world?
Bottici and Challand disentangle such a process of myth-making both in the West and in Muslim majority countries, and call for a renewed critical attitude towards it. By analysing a process of elaboration of this myth that took place in academic books, arts and media, comics and Hollywood films, they show that the clash of civilizations has become a cognitive scheme through which people look at the world, a practical image on the basis of which they act on it, as well as a drama which mobilizes passions and emotions.
Written in a concise and accessible way, this book is a timely and valuable contribution to the academic literature, and more generally, to the public debate. As such, it will be an important reference for scholars and students of political science, sociology, philosophy, cultural studies, Middle Eastern politics and Islam.

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