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Intercultural Communication as a Clash of Civilizations

Al-Jazeera and Qatar’s Soft Power


Tal Samuel-Azran

Intercultural Communication as a Clash of Civilizations argues that Al-Jazeera is not an agent of globalization, as is widely argued, but a tool used by the Qatari government to advance its political as well as Islamist goals. This book also maps the Western tendency to reject the network outright despite Al-Jazeera’s billion-dollar investments designed to gain entrance into Western markets; it shows empirically that this rejection is similarly rooted in religious, cultural and national motives. This book asserts that the main outcome of Al-Jazeera’s activities is the promotion of religious and cultural conflicts. The network persistently portrays global events through the prism of conflicting religious and cultural values – propelling a clash of civilizations as per Samuel P. Huntington’s well-known thesis.
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Appendix A: The Clash-of-Civilizations Theory and Its Discontents


In 1993, political scientist Samuel P. Huntington wrote an article in the journal Foreign Affairs outlining his now-infamous thesis on the clash of civilizations. He later developed his ideas in a book entitled The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, in which he explains in detail how the post–Cold War era will be comprised of a world divided into eight major civilizations, namely, the Sinic, Japanese, Hindu, Islamic, Orthodox, Western, Latin American, and African, all primarily defined by a shared religion and culture. The advancements in travel and communications technology that have shaped the modernized world substantially increase people’s interactions with members of the differing civilizations, resulting in a coinciding shift in the global social structure. Consequently, people face a form of identity crisis searching for a sense of belonging and in turn reattach themselves to a religious group, inviting the rise of a religious resurgence which is especially prevalent among the youth. This trend is said to be particularly true for the Islamic religion.

In this era, conflict is predicted to transpire as a result of direct clashes between these different civilizations, most commonly through fault line wars occurring at the geographic borders at which two or more civilizations meet. Intercivilizational conflict of this sort is highly likely to escalate as participants ← 117 | 118 → rally support from more powerful kin nations from within their civilization, usually from core states, the most powerful and culturally central nations from within each civilization. On...

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