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The Concept Of Civilization And Culture Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 5401 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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These characteristics of civilization shows that the emergence of civilization significantly stabilized the social life and the course of history, created the conditions for the accumulation of historical experience and, of course, contributed to a more productive development of culture. Now certain people or a community of people can protect their cultural achievements, to keep statements about his past recordings, rather than relying on an unstable human memory and the fragility of individual lives. 

However, it becomes clear that the notion of civilization do not coincide with the notion of culture: civilization as it concentrates mainly those aspects of social life, which maintained a technical component of the culture, not its semantic foundation. 

Of course, the concept of Spengler is too radical to review aspects of interaction of culture and civilization. Real their relationship is, of course, much more complicated. Civilization, in the first place, and there may be only on the basis of certain cultural achievements, in this sense, it really appears virtually identical culture. But at the same time it differs from culture as their functions and target orientation. Does not coincide with the culture, civilization is an important stimulus for socio-historical form of culture. The interests of culture and civilization, and indeed may oppose each other, and such periods have been observed in human history. 

Anyway, culture and civilization appear in two different sides of human social and historical existence, and their opposition, but also the mutual stimulation are normal. 

Today the concept of “civilization” is often used to determine the achieved level of social development, as well as a certain level of functioning of culture in all its components. In other words: civilization – is a level of state and society, which are inherent in the high rise of culture and its effective functioning of all branches of life of society. 

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Modern civilization, often referred to as post-industrial forms its own culture, which has its own distinctive features, notably the high level of science, engineering and technology. However, the above-mentioned features of modern civilization has brought to humanity not only positive changes. The most important negative consequence of the emergence of so-called global problems of modern civilization due to the fact that the human, technical and production activities in its scope has reached the size of planetary processes. Globalization, as a characteristic tendency of our time and gradually promotes the fusion of different cultures into a single mass culture. 

However, Noosphere culture contradictory: she gave the man an unprecedented comfort and features, but relentlessly robs people of their natural beginning and thus deprives them of a certain future. This contradiction is not only a source of hope and expectation, but also great concern over the future of man and mankind.

So, on the bases of civilization arises as a set of forms that stabilize society; between culture and civilization formed a complex, contradictory system of mutual interaction. One of the manifestations of these contradictions have become global problems of modern post-industrial civilization in nature. 

The existence of different approaches to the definition and origin of “civilization” is caused by different content that is embedded in its interpretation. In accordance with the contents of the essence of Civilizations and the criteria for its evaluation, determined the type of civilization. Despite the diversity of existing views on civilization, the scientists were unanimous in relation to such of its important characteristics: 1) the formation of the state, and 2) the emergence of writing, 3) Department of Agriculture from crafts, 4) stratification of society into classes, and 5) the emergence of cities. The presence of the first two traits nearly all recognize as compulsory, and the need for other frequently refers in doubt.Even if we take into account the first three features, they are already characterize the civilization as a socio-cultural and economic center. The emergence of writing indicates the possibility to record information rather than store it in memory, and characterizes the separation of mental from physical labor, which made it possible to concentrate the efforts of individual groups of people on the development of art and different forms of positive knowledge. The city is a cell, around which dominated primitive forms of social life of the nomadic tribes. They perform specific functions in society: there were the centers of agricultural production, handicrafts, trade, ideology, ideological outpost. It was during the era of the first civilizations systematized and centralized the ideological sphere, has a really strong spiritual influence on the masses, forming a geocentric type of social consciousness. This is confirmed by the attractions of monumental architecture (huge palaces, pyramids, monuments), which showed strong production potential of society, make them. 

Principled position of scientists of the Soviet period was the selection of formation types of civilization: ancient oriental despotisms, slave, feudal, bourgeois society. This approach differed from the views of many Western scholars, who mainly rely on the concept of Arnold Toynbee, which explains both the course of development of all human cultures, applying the concept of “civilization” to the peculiarities of the development of peoples and cultures of different regions and countries. [1, s.350] 

Civilizational approach has been widely used in studies of historical and cultural-historical typology. In this case, we can distinguish three approaches in the interpretation of the concept of “civilization”: a locally historic, historical, stadial, and world-historical. 

Among the supporters of the local-historical approach there is no unanimity on the question of how many civilizations have been in the past and how many they are now. 

N. Danilevskiy singled out (in chronological order) the following civilization, or cultural-historical styles: Egyptian, Assyrian-Babylonian-finikiyskugo, Indian, Iranian, Jewish, Greek, Roman, Arabian, Germanic-Romance (European) and Slavic. Spengler considered such historical and cultural worlds: the Egyptian, Indian, Babylonian, Chinese, Greco-Roman (apollonovsky), Mayan and Western European (Faust). 

In Arnold Toynbee in the pre-classification, there are a number of companies of one kind, which, as historian wrote, “called civilizations: Egyptian, Andean, Chinese, Minoan, Sumerian, manyanskoe, Syrian, Indies, Hittite, Hellenistic, Orthodox Christian (in Russia ), the Far East (Korea and Japan), Orthodox Christian (mainly), the Far East (mainly), Iranian, Arab, Hindu, Mexican, Yucatan, Babylonian. 

In a more condensed classification Toynbee identified, but the “western world”, “Christian Orthodox, or Byzantine Society, located in South-Eastern Europe and Russia,” Islamic society “, concentrated in the arid zone (the region of arid steppes, deserts and semi-desert) passing diagonally across North Africa and the Middle East from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Wall of China, “Hindu society” in the tropical subkontinentalyyuy India to the south-east of the arid zone, “Far Eastern society” in the subtropical and temperate areas between arid zone and the Pacific Ocean. 

This classification of civilizations was the basis for the concept of L. Vasilyev, who identified five contemporary civilizations: “Western Europe”, “Russian”, “Islamic”, “Indo-Buddhist” and “Confucian”. 

X. White, using tropologichesky approach identified four civilizational and historical types of culture: the ironic (Western Europe), metaphorical (Middle East), sinekdotichesky (India) and analogical (China). 

As part of the historical and stadial approach depending on the choice of any axiomatic criteria identify different types of civilizations. In modern literature, for example, are considered types such as oral, written, book and screen, “” cosmogenic, technological and man-made, “” traditional and modern, “” evolutionary and innovative “civilization. 

However, in most cases, historical and stadial studies used a technocratic approach, based on which secrete an agrarian (pre-industrial), manufacturing (industrial) and information (post-industrial) civilization (Rostow, Daniel Bell, Toffler). 

Agrarian civilization – a society with a primitive agricultural production, hierarchical social structure and authority belonging to landowners, the church and the army as a major social institutions. 

At the time, N. Kondratiev, studying the cycles of economic conditions, came to the conclusion that they are changing every 40-50 years. These half century Kondratiev cycles considered as part of the cycle of civilization, which continues on his calculations about 200-300 years. 

In “Origins of history and its purpose” (1949) Jaspers identified in social development are four “cut”: “Prehistory”, “great historical culture of antiquity” (local history), “axial age” (the beginning of World History), ” the era of technology “(the transition to a unified world history Danilevsky N. singled out (in chronological order) the following civilization, or cultural-historical styles: Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Phoenician, Indian, Iranian, Jewish, Greek, Roman, Arabian, German-Romanesque (European) and Slavic. Spengler considered such historical and cultural worlds: the Egyptian, Indian, Babylonian, Chinese, Greco-Roman (apollonovsky), Mayan and Western European (Faust). 

X. White, using a topological approach, outlined four civilizational and historical types of culture: the ironic (Western Europe), metaphorical (Middle East), sinekdotichesky (India) and analogical (China). 

In a direct clash between two types of civilized development, Eastern and Western, at a time when the power of the state was determined by techno-economic and political-military advantage, we found a clear superiority of European civilization. This gave birth in the minds of European intellectuals of the illusion of “inferiority” of the Eastern world, in the wake of which emerged the concept of “modernization” as a way of familiarizing “inert” East to civilization. On the other hand, in the East against the Europeans almost until the end of the XIX century. the conception of the vast moral and ethical superiority of Eastern civilization, that of “western barbarians” borrow nothing, except the machine technology. [2, s.366] 

Considering the classification of civilizations, scholars Orientalists believed that it was divided into two “tree” – East and West, have their own, unique ways of development, of which “natural” and “normal” recognizes the east, while west is regarded as a mutation bias. Other scholars have also offered to share all of civilization into two types, but give them a different interpretation: one of them – manmade – declares a characteristic of Western Europe, and the second – psychogenic – to Eastern countries, example of which is Indian civilization of the past. 

Thus, many authors of the concept of culture and civilization divided and even opposed. To include the field of spirituality, culture (ideas), and to civilization – the result area of ​​the material (things). Civilization was treated as a material unit of culture. Argues that culture is dying and snikaet before the triumph of civilization.Common and different interpretation of civilization, when it is presented as general characteristics of the historically specific types of sociality and culture. In this case civilization is understood as a certain degree of social history, the continued development of peoples and the world in general, determined by cash condition of the social structure and spiritual world. The most concise definition of civilization is this: Civilization – socio-cultural complexes, folding at different times in different regions of the earth and bearing the features of the social and cultural identity. That is why the common expression “the Inca civilization”, “Greek civilization”, “ancient civilization”, “modern civilization”, etc. [3, p.83] 

 Today the problem of Civilizations aims to researchers such problems whose solution requires a scientific approach and philosophy well conceived. These problems are primarily such as the nature of the crisis experienced by individual cultures, particularly Western culture, the future of the Western world, strengthening of cultural identity and the resurgence of nationalism, the ratio of the modern man of religion, technology, science, the relationship between East and West, etc. 

 In developing a definition of civilization and the evaluation of specific civilizations, much depends on the position of the researcher. Among the most representative theories of civilizations theory is primarily AJ. Toynbee, who continues the line of N. Danilevsky and Spengler. 

 His theory may be regarded as the culminating point in the development of theories of “local civilizations.” Monumental study of Arnold Toynbee, “A Study of History”, many scientists recognize a masterpiece of historical and macrosociological science. Another of his work entitled “Civilization before the court of history” is devoted mainly on the clash of civilizations in the modern era. 

In the study, “Study of History” on the basis of in-depth study of the colossal facts of world history Toynbee attempt to rethink the trends of socio-historical development of mankind in the spirit of local civilizations. Ideas, concepts, definitions, facts, countries and peoples, past and future merge in a complex pattern, but rather points to the presence of a mystery than giving clarity and consistency of past events. 

In his studies, Arnold Toynbee also believed that civilization has certain types of human communities, “causing certain associations in the field of religion, architecture, art, morals, customs – in short, a culture.” 

Unlike Spengler, who was absolutely not interested in any other culture than their allocated eight “great”, as historian Arnold Toynbee is concerned to describe all of the historically existing civilization. 

In a comparative study of civilizations Toynbee examines and describes six representatives of the species – five living and one dead and two groups of relics.As a result, a more detailed analysis revealed thirteen representatives. 

Let’s try to briefly address some of these types of societies. 

1. Orthodox Christian community. 

* Toynbee AJ. A Study of History. Moscow, 2002, pp. 45. 


Orthodox Christian community, like the Western Christian, is in the filial relationship with the Hellenic society, and hence the conclusion is that one society may be in the “paternal relatives’ relationships with several different companies.To understand how this is possible, let us turn to the geographical factor. 

“The rod axis of the Orthodox Christian world has its origin in the center of the Hellenic world, in the Aegean Sea. Expansion of the Orthodox Christian community was not in a straight line: in the north-east, it initially established in Georgia, and later it passed through the Caucasus Mountains, reaching Alanya, where he was discovered out in the great Eurasian steppe, in the northwest, it swept the Balkans. Orthodox Christianity spread, and along the transverse axis, which crosses the main axis of Constantinople. Sea route brought Orthodox Christianity to the “paternal” Hellenic Society. “Differentiation of the Western and Orthodox Christianity gave rise to two different societies. One “Chrysalis” – Catholic Church – formed two independent organism: the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church “*. 

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Iranian and Arab society. Next living society – Islamic. Appeal to the sources of his stories is the discovery of the universal state (Baghdad Abbasid Caliphate), the universal church (Islam) and the movement of tribes (the movement of Turkic and Mongol nomads of the Great Steppe, etc.). Detected and signs of paternal society. The Islamic Society was born on the territory of the Asian highlands, forming gradually a number of independent states, from which comes almost all the States of the modern Islamic world. Two of the Islamic Society of filial one more akin to the old society, which is “beyond the visible historical horizon.” 

1.2. The concept of “culture” 

The text of chapter 

2. Classification of Civilizations 

2.1. Civilization in Toynbee 

Understand the history of a country, it is usually impossible without considering its relations and interactions with other countries. To explain the event in its history, it is necessary to compare them with what is happening in other countries. But this does not imply that the study of the history of any country should take the whole world and all history of mankind. For example, a historian studying the history of Kievan Rus, it is necessary to consider its relations with the Byzantine Empire: without this, it is impossible to explain where, how and why the spread in Russia of Orthodox Christianity, which even now is a bridge between the Slavic and East European nations. During the formation of civilization, as a conglomerate of countries with common historical, cultural, racial, linguistic and spiritual bonds should be paid to the special role of religious and philosophical teachings, because their dissemination contributes to the expansion of the civilization in which these teachings are fundamental. 

Thus, we can conclude that: 

1. Civilization is a society that far exceed the national government not only territory but also the duration of its existence; 

2. their culture with greater length, both in space and in time than the national state, city, state, or any other political alliances “*. Indeed, the historian, while remaining within its boundaries, should be able to understand all aspects of social life – not only politically and economically, and culturally, which is the most profound and fundamental. Therefore, the field of historical study covers a rather broad spatial-temporal region, which houses the society, which is able to consist of a set of states. This society is a complete historical education, which is the “social atom” – the basic unit of the story: “Society, not the state is a social” atom “, which should focus its attention historian” **. 

Society of this type Toynbee called civilization. Each civilization is a closed and independent from the other world. Of course, completely isolated from external influences of civilization, apparently does not exist. Yet each of them has relative autonomy, sufficient to allow for analysis of its history to abstract from the influence on it from other civilizations. 

Geographical boundaries of the area occupied by any civilization, may change over time. But “none of the surveyed companies do not cover the whole of humanity, does not extend to the entire inhabited earth, and has no peer among the societies of its kind, our Western society, for example, is not perceived as something whole, while Hellenic Society, being one of the original members of the societies species has not reached its maturity *. World history is the history of different civilizations, coexisting alongside each other. 

The duration of a single civilization more than the lifetime of any single nation, but at the same time, less than the time allotted to humanity as a whole. It makes Toynbee to address the question of the continuity of history. He distinguishes between on the one hand, a continuous sequence of phases of the history of the same civilization (similar to the periods of the life of an individual), while the other – a continuous relationship over time between different civilizations (which resembles the relationship between parents and their children). It is obvious that in the second case – when “filial-paternal” continuity – continuity in the development of societies is considerably weaker. ” But nevertheless, it is like genetic inheritance determines the similarity of cultures. 

2.2. Civilization by Samuel Huntington 

According to Huntington, a civilization is the cultural community of the highest rank, as the broadest level of people’s identity, which is determined by the presence of common features of the objective order, as well as subjective self-identification of people. Divide by civilization probation. And until now, according to Huntington, nation-states play a major role in global geopolitics, but the behavior of the system and the international orientation of these states are easier to control and predict, if conditionally divide the world on how communities.According to Huntington the creation of these communities (civilization) is meaningful only when using the culture (ie set of spiritual and material values ​​created by this civilization, as well as the ability to play them) as the main factor, that is, combining all the civilization of countries belonging to certain cultures. Of course, you can not talk about full of cultural identity of any two different human communities. When considering the two different human communities identified as belonging to one particular culture, one can not see the distinct cultural differences between them, but there is a third community, belonging to a completely different culture, which differ radically from both. Here is the principle of separation of civilizations, that’s a practical explanation of the Huntington: “A village in southern Italy for its culture may be different from the same village in Northern Italy, but they remain the name of Italian villages, they should not be confused with the German. In turn, European countries have common cultural traits that distinguish them from the Chinese or the Arab world. ” Civilization defined by the presence of common objective features (history, language, religion …) and direct subjective self-identification of people of this civilization, and it (identity) can vary over time, resulting in change and civilization. Therefore it is impossible to speak of a monolithic civilizations, they themselves may consist of several nation-states may stratify at each other, include subtsivilizatsii. Due to certain reasons the different community (they can be called ethnic groups) may be culturally dissociate from each other at such a distance that they would be easier and fairer to call different civilizations. Particularly striking example of this – a selection of Japanese Civilization: Japan, as is known, has its roots in China and Southeast Asia, but culturally evolved on the other hand, different from their branches, resulting in Japan now and is considered as a separate civilization.Huntington defines civilization as the broadest level of cultural identity people. The next level – unlike humanity from other creatures. Due to the dimensions of civilization in the world today has 8.7 Huntington civilizations, covering the whole inhabited world. These civilizations: Western (western Europe and North America), Latin (includes South and Central America), Africa (central and some southern and northern Africa. Huntington calls it as a contender for the title of civilization), Islamic (Part of the northern Africa, Central Asia and part of Southeast Asia), Orthodox (She’s Russian, East European and East-Christian. Eastern Europe, Siberia. According to Huntington on the verge of extinction), Hindu (Part of South Asia), Confucian (it is Chinese. China and South-east of mainland Asia) and Japanese civilization. These civilizations exist at the moment, but of course there were other civilizations, and probably will be others.Civilization is not constant in the development and existence, that is, civilization can survive the period of prosperity, birth, decay, death, etc. In total, according to Huntington (he refers to Toynbee) and 21 can speak of civilization. 

3. Clash of Civilizations 

3.1. Scientific concept of Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilizations 

In the summer of 1993 in the journal «Foreign Affairs», published an article by Samuel Huntington, entitled “The Clash of Civilizations?”. Then this article caused a great stir throughout the world. In this article, Huntington put forward his vision for peace after the Cold War, the basic idea of ​​which was that the main players in the global arena now will not state and government, and civilization, which may comprise up to several tens of states. The main causes of wars will be no economic or political interests, cultural clashes. Ideology, which had great significance in the XX century gives way to culture as the main dominant global geopolitical processes. Border confrontation between different blocks will be determined not belonging to any of the three worlds and belonging to a particular culture, community. 

Huntington believed that he created a system of world development and international relations – the concept of “clash of civilizations” – is the final phase of the stadial development of global conflicts in modern times. After the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648 gg.) And the signing of the Peace of Westphalia, which issued the modern international system in Europe, both western and eastern, conflicts unfolded mainly between the rulers of states, seeking to multiply the strength of their country in all possible ways, including through the accession of new lands. 

As a result of this process have formed a sufficiently powerful state, then became national. In connection with the modernization of society and as a consequence of the states themselves have themselves become a nation determines the course of policy, both foreign and domestic. For a point of transition takes Huntington in 1793, the French Revolution. This way the global geopolitical persisted until the end of World War II. With the end of World War I and the completion of the revolutions in Russia and Germany, the clash of nations has given way to a conflict of ideologies. The main players on the world scene now became three ideological camps – Liberalistichesky, communist and nationalist. After the Second World War and the defeat of Germany started a fight between two ideologies: communism and liberal democracy, or so-called “cold war”. Neither the USSR nor the United States were a nation-state in the classic sense of the term, so that conflict is none other than the conflict of ideologies. 

Huntington believes that all of the above described stages in the development of peace and international relations is “the civil wars of the West, because a detailed examination of each stage can be seen a tendency to absolutism and without the enormous role of the West (Europe, primarily) in all world conflicts.Absolute apogee of the West in the global geopolitical space came in today and requires permission. The situation predicted more Spengler in his book “The Decline of Europe” and now the West is ready to give up a lot in order to maintain the current, lose influence in the world, in particular the West is ready to waive part of its ideology. One of these victims may be called the idea of ​​Eurocentrism, which is increasingly giving way to other approaches consider the historical and geopolitical processes in the world. The concept of “Clash of Civilizations” is one such “concessions” in the continuation of Western domination in the earth’s politics. Evidence, albeit indirect, for this is probably not fully voiced in Huntington’s treatise, but a very practical purpose of this theory: to improve the process of forecasting the geopolitical situation to conduct a successful policy of “jogging civilizations” with each other and forcing a “civilization” for destructivethese situations, which should preserve the primacy of Western influence. 

3.2. Is it possible to prevent a clash of civilizations? 

This question has always been relevant, but now, with the expansionary impending war in the Middle East, especially. Huntington’s opinion: 

“The most important conflicts of the future will unfold along the fault lines between civilizations.” He cites a series of arguments, explaining his theory: 

– The culture of any civilization is unique. It has its own cultural achievements, such as language, history, tradition, religion … and the values ​​expressed in the relations between human society and state, God. … Because of this strong cultural differentiation, which does not disappear in the foreseeable future, there is greater likelihood of conflict especially along the lines of contact between civilizations, which can escalate into conflicts, including the global. Huntington believes that all the worst conflict in human history have been bred specifically the differences between civilizations. 

– Contacts between Civilizations deeper and more frequent. As a consequence, against the backdrop of visible differences between civilizations, the cultural identity of representatives of these civilizations is enhanced. Under this culture is the dominant force in modern geopolitics. 

– The economic and social development, people are starting to move away from self-identification of himself with a place of residence and country of residence. In place, the role of religion in the identity of people increases, so that the process of desekulyarizatsii society in the world at large. 

– Huntington believes that the West (the U.S., especially) is now at the peak of its power, and it boosts civilization back to its roots 

– With increasing level of intra-regional economy grows and the value of links between regions. But this relationship is most successful when community civilizations. Since the intra-connection between parts of one civilization is rapidly being established and strengthened, in contrast to the regional relations between civilizations, where cultural differences can become an insurmountable obstacle.Huntington believes that there are two levels of conflict of civilizations. The first – the microlevel, where the conflict occurs between the parts of individual civilizations for territory and power. And the second level – the macro-level, where the struggle is to dominate the world on military, political and economic parameters, to extend its influence as widely as possible. 

Huntington, however, still recognize the primacy and uniqueness of Western civilization (especially the impact of the U.S.) with respect to all the others: “In a world where there is no rule of the United States will be more violence and disorder and less democracy and economic growth than in the world, where the United States continues to affect more to address global issues than any other country. Sustained international primacy of the United States is most important to the welfare and safety of Americans and for the future of freedom, democracy, open economies and the international order on the ground. ” 


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