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A clash of civilizations in France?

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VANESSA G.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Huntington and the 'Clash of Civilisations'
  3. Islam and the West
  4. On what basis was the ban proposed and implemented?
  5. Contemporary France: An ethnic melting pot?
  6. What is the significance of the veil to Islam?
  7. The Basis of the ban
  8. Divergent voices in Islam
  9. Islamic feminism and hijab
  10. Conclusion

Huntington's influence in international relations (Graham 2004) necessitates a deconstruction of his, and question whether it is still applicable today. However, it is essential to define Huntington's civilization: the ?highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest level of cultural identity?? inclusive of cultural customs, religion, language and history and the people's self-identification (Huntington 1993 p. 24). The world as we know it, he argues, consists of seven (possibly eight) of these civilizations which strive to be the ultimate hegemonic power: The West - Europe, North America, and Australia; Latin American; Islamic; Japanese; Hindu; Confucian; Slavic-Orthodox; and potentially African (Huntington 1993).

According to Huntington, the Islamic world encompasses North Africa, Central Asia and the Arabian and Iberian Peninsulas. It also constitutes ?Arab, Turkic, Persian and Malay? areas (Huntington in Hendrikson 2010 Para. 4). Huntington notes that ?civilizations are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition, and most important, religion? (1993 p. 25). These form the base from which a civilization is generated, and mould the way in which members of these civilizations view relationships with ?God' and man, notions of citizenship, liberty, authority and equality. According to Huntington, a smaller world has led to greater interaction between civilizations, which in turn have generated a greater awareness of these different views. These differences in opinions have oftentimes led to violence. Huntington also points out a religious revival which he ascribes to Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam, leading to an ?us? versus ?them? (1993 p. 28) mentality between civilizations.

[...] Sharp goes on to state that for some Islamic feminists, the concept of equality manifests itself in hijab. The wearing of the veil is a backlash against women being perceived as sexual objects, and is a motion of ?liberation from the commercialisation of beauty that consumes our nation? (Khan in Sharp 2012). The escape from objectification arrives in the guise of hijab, where the cloaking of the woman's body or changing of its appearance subverts the sexual degradation placed on it by patriarchy (Mahdi 2012). [...]


[...] 28) mentality between civilizations. Islam and the West Huntington (2002) says conflict occurs between Muslim and non-Muslim countries over economic and territorial power, and due to ?values and culture when a state attempts to promote or to impose its values on the people of another civilisations? (Huntington 2002 p. 2). This conflict has been evident in Islamic and Christian histories since their conception, and their enmity stems from what Huntington notes as the Western Christian concept of church and state as separate entities contrasting with Islamic practices of ?uniting religion and politics? (2002 p. [...]


[...] and increasing contact between civilisations highlighting the differences between cultures. Huntington ultimately argues that these factors of conflict generate a ?fundamental' question of which civilisation will rule (2002). The case study of the French burqa ban is thus an interesting attempt to explore Huntington's clash of civilisations theory, with a Western country coming into direct contact with what is arguably an Islamic practice, hijab or veiling. In 2010 the burqa, a full body and face veil which leaves a slit for the eyes, and the niqab which leaves netting for the eyes to gaze out from were to be banned in public spaces and transport under a proposal led by former President Sarkozy. [...]


[...] L'affaire du voile: A clash of civilizations in France? Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilisations has had an immense impact on international relations since its inception in 1993. However, while providing an interesting framework to exam global and national interrelations, it has also come under scrutiny. Many argue Huntington is too restrictive and narrow-minded in his attempt to demonstrate the apparently inherent animosity between the West and rest' (Sen 2006). Using Huntington's clash of civilizations framework, this paper will attempt to analyze the relationship between the Western country of France and its French population, notably using the case study of l'affaire du voile, the banning of the burqa and niqab in public. [...]


[...] Against the Burqa Ban. Pandaemonium, Wordpress Malik, Z. (2010). "France's Burka Dilemma." Retrieved 23/5/2012, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8568000/8568024.stm. Martin, M. (2011). "French law banning face veils goes into effect." Retrieved 30/5/12, from http://www.npr.org/2011/04/11/135317755/french-law- banning-face-veils-goes-into-effect. Muslimah Media Watch (2010). "Does NiqaBitch Enrich the Burqa Ban Debate?? Retrieved 11/6/12, from http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mmw/2010/10/do-the- niqabitches-enrich-the-burqa-ban-debate/. Rochefort, P. (2012) ?French Issues #1' http://www.understandfrance.org/French/Issues.html (accessed 25/4/12) Schrek, A. (2006). "The Headscarf Debate in France." 11/6/12, from http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~schre20a/classweb/1%20stasi%20commission%20report. [...]

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