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The Idea of Civilization and the Making of the Global Order$
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Andrew Linklater

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529213874

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529213874.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

The Return of Discourses of Civilization and Barbarism

The Return of Discourses of Civilization and Barbarism

(p.31) 1 The Return of Discourses of Civilization and Barbarism
The Idea of Civilization and the Making of the Global Order

Andrew Linklater

Policy Press

This chapter discusses the revival of discourses of civilization and barbarism in the recent period, specifically in connection with the 'war on 'terror' and the torture debate. It emphasizes continuities between colonial and contemporary perspectives. Drawing on process sociology, it argues that the idea of civilization has been a central part of struggles to shape the way in which people orientate themselves to the social world. Participants in such struggles use the idea of civilization to justify using force against savage enemies but also to constrain violence in those relations. The chapter argues that the torture debate illustrates Elias’s observations about the peculiar entanglements of civilized peoples. It is essential to consider those entanglements and the discourse of civilization that was used in the 'war on terror' in long-term perspective – as aspects of the process of civilization which Elias set out to explain.

Keywords:   Civilizational entanglements, war on terror, torture debate, laws of

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