The Clash of Civilizations and Catholic Social Thought

By: Thomas Banchoff

April 20, 2015

This week bloggers explore a theme that links principles of Catholic social thought to wider geopolitical analysis. The idea that the world is confronting a “clash of civilizations” (most famously advanced in 1993 by Samuel Huntington) may be the most influential concept in contemporary international relations: an idea reviled and lambasted by some, implicitly or explicitly embraced by others. Even 22 years later talk of this cultural and religious clash permeates much discussion of current world events, and especially conflict. We encourage a debate about the idea: both its contemporary relevance, its impact on policy thinking and action, and what better notions might replace it.   


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The Clash of Civilizations and Catholic Social Thought