The Alliance of Civilizations: Possibilities of Conflict Resolution at the Civilizational Level* by ProQuest

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This study examines the possible contributions of the critical perspectives and conceptual frameworks of the Conflict Resolution field to address "civilizational level" conflicts. The possibilities and limitations of dialogue processes at the civilizational level are critically examined. While recognizing the main assumptions and contributions of dialogue processes to deal with cultural/civilizational conflicts, this study puts forward an alternative and more practical vision: that of creating Spheres of Dialogic Interaction (SODI). In the second part of the study the social and political backgrounds, practical contributions, and limitations of two recent projects the "Dialogue among Civilizations" (DaC) and the "Alliance of Civilizations" (AoC) are analyzed. It is argued that with its action-oriented agenda and the practical environment conducive to flexible, interactive and reflexive interaction, the ongoing AoC project is an important venue for creating SODI. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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									The Alliance of Civilizations:
Possibilities of Conflict Resolution
at the Civilizational Level*
                                                                                     TALHA KÖSE**




                                              C
ABSTRACT
                                                       ertain common misunderstand-
This study examines the possible
contributions of the critical                          ings related to the characteristics
perspectives and conceptual               of “civilizational conflicts” prevent the de-
frameworks of the Conflict                velopment of practical models to address the
Resolution field to address
“civilizational level” conflicts.
                                          challenge they pose. Before getting into the de-
The possibilities and limitations         tails of the discussion it is important to clarify
of dialogue processes at the              some of these misunderstandings. The debates
civilizational level are critically
                                          surrounding the “Clash of Civilizations,” “Dia-
examined. While recognizing the
main assumptions and contributions        logue among Civilizations” and “Alliance of
of dialogue processes to deal with        Civilizations” all attribute an agency to ‘civili-
cultural/civilizational conflicts, this   zations,’ which is a misleading approach. There
study puts forward an alternative and
more practical vision: that of creating
                                          are no institutional or legal representatives of
Spheres of Dialogic Interaction           ‘civilizations’ although some actors may wish
(SODI). In the second part of             to be considered in this light.1 Individuals,
the study, the social and political
                                          groups and institutions claiming to represent
backgrounds, practical contributions,
and limitations of two recent projects    civilizations and their ideas can clash and
the “Dialogue among Civilizations”        come to agreement physically and verbally but
(DaC) and the “Alliance of
Civilizations” (AoC) are analyzed. It
is argued that with its action-oriented
agenda and the practical environment
conducive to flexible, interactive and     * An earlier version of this study had been presented in the An-
reflexive interaction, the ongoing        nual Convention of International Studies Association 2009, Feb-
AoC project is an important venue         ruary 14-18 2009, NYC. I would like to thank Dr. İbrahim Kalın
for creating SODI.                        and Dr. Ulaş Doğa Eralp for their comments on the earlier version
                                          of this study.
                                          ** George Mason University; Research Director, SETA
								
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