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“Déjà vu All Over Again: A Post-Cold War Empirical Test of Huntington’s Civilizational Theory”

Journal article
Authors Nicholas Charron
Published in Cooperation and Conflict
Volume 45
Issue 1
Pages 107-127
ISSN 0010-8367
Publication year 2010
Published at Quality of Government Institute (QoG)
Department of Political Science
Pages 107-127
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1177/0010836709347215
Keywords Huntington, clash of civilizations, conflcit, war, culture, MID's
Subject categories Empirical conflict research

Abstract

Many in the media have depicted conflicts between the Western and Muslim world as a “Clash of Civilizations”, which have revived many of the questions surrounding the value of Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations theory (CoC). Previous empirical tests have analyzed his theory using low-level conflict at the interstate level or violent conflict at the sub-national level. The former have demonstrated little to no empirical support for his theory, while the results in the later group are mixed. This analysis makes significant improvements from previous empirical studies. One, the empirical models test exclusively CoC in the post Cold War era from 1989-2001. Two, along with examining the civilizational determinants of MID’s, as prior studies have done, I also include models that focus exclusively on interstate wars, as Huntington frequently points out that a CoC between states will lead to violent political conflict. Finally, this study directly tests Huntington’s civilizational “fault lines” and Islamic “bloody border” hypotheses. I also include an extension and find that intra-civilizational conflict is relatively rare in the post-Cold War era. Contrary to earlier analyses, the data show strong empirical support for CoC, particularly when focusing on violent international conflict in the post-Cold War era.

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