The vision of order and al-‘Umran as an explanatory concept in the debates on civilization
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KünyeIşık, V. (2017). Debates on civilization in the Muslim world critical perspectives on Islam and modernity. In L. Sunar (Ed.), The vision of order and al-‘Umran as an explanatory concept in the debates on civilization (51-63 ss.). New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Debates around the concept of civilization are increasing. It is natural for debates to intensify given that several disciplines such as sociology, political science, and international relations are using civilization as a unit of analysis. As Paul Ricoeur (1965, pp. 271-84) pointed out, we are in a time when a ‘mediocre civilization' is gradually threatening the whole world. Paul Ricoeur (1965) in his article draws attentions to this threat and states that a standardized ‘mediocre civilization' came to impose itself over the whole world. Despite his appreciation of the globalization of universal values, Ricoeur regards this ‘mediocre civilization’, which is produced and disseminated by modernity, and which steadily assumes a plastic-artificial character, as one of the greatest threats that humanity faces. Under such circumstances, it is beneficial to question whether the tendency to solve almost every issue through a single concept called civilization is the result of reducing thought to a standard mediocre level. Of course, every paradigm is built on ‘root concepts’; however, in order to understand these clearly we must contextualize them in relation to centres of power. As a starting point, then, we can define these centres as centres of the modern Western system of thought. Thus, as modernity becomes global, non- Western societies are forced into a hierarchical relationship with the West and it would not be wrong to say that the present global regime is an outcome of Europe’s re-structuring of the world.