Culture and politics: the analytical challenge of the new identity politics

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Providing a variety of examples of the influence of culture on political processes, the article illustrates the real need to incorporate cultural analysis in the understanding of politics and
political conflict today. However, the article warns against simplistic understandings of what ‘culture’ is, and how it can be incorporated in explanatory frameworks. It seems that the notion of ‘culture’ that most political scientists and IR scholars have adopted was one that anthropologists deconstructed and left behind several decades ago.
The article critically discusses the ‘culturalist’ approach proposed by Samuel Huntington, and makes the basic criticism that Huntington conflates the descriptive and analytical levels, and hence essentialises both ‘culture’ and ‘civilization’. Furthermore, Huntington seriously fails to address the cultural dynamics that may under certain circumstances lead to political conflict.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHistorical Processes and Peace Politics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)135
Number of pages155
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes

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