Conflict, Institutional Change, and Development in the Era of Globalization
New Thinking in Political Economy series
Edited by Joachim Ahrens, Rolf Caspers and Janina Weingarth
Chapter 2: Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations A Self-fulfilling Prophecy?
2. Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations - A Self-fulfilling Prophecy? WernerRuf 1. WE AND THE OTHERS: THE CREATION OF COLLECTIVE IDENTITIES Identity always appears in the specifics of a collective, to which an individual believes himself to belong or to which he is counted by others; be it a group, a nation, a religion or possibly a transnational community. At the same time, the definition of 'we' in the collective includes differentiation from 'the others', the foreigners. Foreignness, in turn, is emphasized through the contrast with one's own particular nature. Hereby, the self is naturally associated with positive attributes; the foreigner with negative ones (Rommelspacher 2002, pp. 9-20). Hence, the 'we' needs the 'others' as a projection for establishing their own identity. And in this dialectic process, the imagination of the 'other', the 'foreign', speaks more about the condition of the 'we' than about the 'foreign', from which a separation is being sought. At the same time, the individuals of collectives are defmed by their basic characteristics and equate with one another through essential characteristics. This mechanism has two implications: firstly, separation lines between collectives can be clearly drawn. Secondly, common characteristics and behavioral patterns determining individual acting and thinking, as well as fundamental dialectic loyalties, can be ascribed to the members of collectives: eventually, such an onto logically-given identity appears as a fixed and predictable variable. This dichotomization, which has actually always accompanied the construction of collective identities, has reached a particular quality with the emergence of the civil...
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