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Debates on Civilization in the Muslim WorldCritical Perspectives on Islam and Modernity$
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Lutfi Sunar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199466887

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199466887.001.0001

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Conceptualizing Civilization between Othering and Multiculturalism

Conceptualizing Civilization between Othering and Multiculturalism

Chapter:
(p.370) 13 Conceptualizing Civilization between Othering and Multiculturalism
Source:
Debates on Civilization in the Muslim World
Author(s):

Murat Çemrek

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199466887.003.0014

Even while every civilization considers itself as ‘the civilization’, it is a point which may neither be questioned nor criticized, and is instead something to which one may simply belong. Until now, Orientalist works have dealt with how Western civilizations make other civilizations/‘barbarianisms’ into a research topic and then crystallize their authority to distort them. As an identity, civilization carries an inherent quality of ‘othering’ due to its drawing such a sharp line between ‘us’ and ‘them’. However, just as it is possible for one to hold multiple identities depending on the different roles he/she plays, it may also be possible for one to claim membership to more than one civilization simultaneously. Thus, in order to conceptualize civilization, one must understand the concept of ‘otherness’, and as one understands this, he/she must also trace the idea of ‘pluralism’. This chapter recommends that a new and critical reading of the concept of civilization is the remedy against the illness of making civilization into a taboo.

Keywords:   pluralism, civilization, ‘othering’, Orientalism, identity, multiculturalism

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