Philosophical Critique of Cultural Essentialism in the Theory of the Clash of Civilizations
This research is a philosophical critique of Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations and, an important theory in current discourse on international relations. According to Huntington, the world can be divided into several distinct civilizations and civilization beliefs/values will determine how countries will act towards each other. By drawing upon philosophical critique as a theoretical stance and methodological path, the text of Huntington’s theory was analyzed. In this theory, cultural essentialism can be found in two forms: monoculturalism and multiculturalism. While the research aims to identify specific discursive patterns, open them to criticism, and explain their existence in the text, it also discusses questions related to understanding of the nature, form and function of the clash of civilization discourse. Compacted within the theory is the ideology of cultural essentialism in their two components. The first is that there is a core set of basic beliefs that remains immutably important through time. The second is people of similar cultural background resort to these values, even if they migrate to other countries and in times of crisis, relative countries and emigrants will unite together. The findings show the leaders and their policies, rather than covert cultural beliefs are determining in political interaction and evolution. When a country’s culture values are seen as determining the actions of its political leaders, the importance of individual leadership and the supervisory power of nations are underestimated.