Civilizational Security

Authored by: Brett Bowden

The Routledge Handbook of New Security Studies

Print publication date:  January  2010
Online publication date:  January  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415484374
eBook ISBN: 9780203859483
Adobe ISBN: 9781135166205


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The idea of civilization occupies a prominent and complicated place in the history of ideas and world history more generally. It has played no small part in shaping history; the demands of civilization have long been employed to describe, explain, rationalize, and justify all manner of interventions and socio-political engineering (Bowden 2009a). The significance of civilization is captured in the suggestion that it is one of a small number of ‘essential’ ideas intimately linked to the ‘whole history of modern thought and the principal intellectual achievements in the western world’ (Benveniste 1971: 289). One might add to this claim that, while civilization is a distinctly Western idea, perhaps its greatest impact has been felt in the non-Western world, where much of the aforementioned intervention and socio-political engineering has taken place, particularly since the Spanish ‘discovery’ and conquest of the New World.

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