Civilization as an analytical tool in international relations: exploring historical, epistemological, and ontological considerations

Mohammed, Samih Salah, Ebini, Abraham and Arshid, Muhammad (2023) Civilization as an analytical tool in international relations: exploring historical, epistemological, and ontological considerations. (Unpublished)

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This research explores the concept of civilization as an analytical tool in the field of international relations, aiming to provide a macro analysis of the international system. Recognizing the complexity of international dynamics, the study seeks to reformulate epistemological and ontological considerations at three levels: historical, epistemological (Islamic and Western), and ontological. By delving into these dimensions, the research aims to guide a comprehensive understanding of the various explanations that are necessary to provide sufficient scientific insights into international conflicts. The study acknowledges the absence of a singular methodological approach to solve the complexities of international relations. It recognizes different perspectives, such as internationalism, the international system (including classical and neo-realism), and the constructivist theory focusing on groups and institutions as units of analysis. Given the primary objective of reducing international conflict and violence, the study emphasizes the importance of conflict resolution and analysis. To achieve this, an initial distinction is made between internal/local analysis and global/external analysis, enabling a holistic and adequate examination of conflicts. The descriptive approach is adopted to comprehensively analyze existing conflicts and delve into their root causes. The research posits several hypotheses at each level of analysis. Historically, it suggests that the transformation in the nature of conflicts in the post-Cold War period led to the emergence of a cultural value perspective, highlighting the failure of traditional materialist interpretations. Additionally, it argues that the growing interest in the cultural dimension stems from the decline in economic, ideological, and military interpretations, granting precedence to cultural dynamics in understanding contemporary conflicts. The study also asserts the prominence of cultural and civilizational conflicts in present-day global conflicts. It emphasizes the need for strategic and civilized solutions, advocating for the resolution of intellectual and ideological conflicts before addressing physical armed conflicts. Moreover, hypotheses are formulated concerning the impact of poverty and addiction on state failures from psychological and political perspectives.1 Examining the diffusion of civilizations in the current era, characterized by rapid change and information flow, the research investigates how cultural characteristics spread based on prevailing civilizational traits within societies. Furthermore, it explores the relationship between heritage and modernity, particularly in Western and Islamic civilizations, examining the philosophies of history from Plato to Hegel and the ideas of scholars like Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Khaldun. Regarding ontological considerations, the study builds an ontological framework for understanding civilization's role in establishing sustainable international peace. It differentiates between philosophical metaphysics and religion, highlighting religion's significance in shaping individuals' perceptions of the material and moral world. The concept of religion is examined, acknowledging its fixed nature while recognizing that religious thought evolves and is influenced by science and history. This research contributes to the understanding of civilization as an analytical tool in international relations, offering valuable insights into historical, epistemological, and ontological dimensions. By shedding light on the complexities of international conflicts and the importance of cultural dynamics, it paves the way for strategic and civilized approaches to conflict resolution and the promotion of global peace2.

1. Huntington, S. P. (1993). "The Clash of Civilizations?". Foreign Affairs, 72(3), 22-49.
2. Said, E. W. (1978). Orientalism. Vintage.

Item Type: Article
Departments: Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership > Law
Additional Information: Dr. Abraham Ebini is working on his Master of Laws (LLM) in International Business Law at the University of Cumbria in East London.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2023 12:05
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 15:15


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