Rethinking political myth: the clash of civilizations as a self-fulfilling prophecy
Title: Rethinking political myth: the clash of civilizations as a self-fulfilling prophecy
Citation: European journal of social theory, 2006, 9, 3, 315-336
This article argues for the need to recover the concept of political myth in order to understand the crucial phenomena of our epoch. By drawing on Blumenberg's philosophical reflections on myth, it proposes to understand political myth as the continual process of work on a common narrative by which the members of a social group can provide significance to their political conditions and experience. In order to show how this understanding of political myth can throw light on important aspects of contemporary politics, the article analyses the work on one of the most conspicuous political myths of our time: the clash of civilizations. By reconstructing the mechanisms through which this myth works, the article shows how a paradigm that has been strongly criticized as too simplistic and scientifically inadequate could have turned into a successful political myth, i.e. into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Subject: Social theory; European studies; Area studies; Cultural conflicts; Cultural interaction; Myth; Orientalism; Culturalism
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