Civilisation State: Multilaterism and Globalisation

14:30 – 15:45
October 11

In today’s increasingly feverish debates about emerging geopolitical rivalries, there is a recognition that the values and norms of ‘civilisation states’ such as India, China, and Turkey will not simply acquiesce in the face of a widely accepted Westphalian concept of the sovereign state. As opposed to the nation-state’s concept of territorial integrity, common language, and citizenry, the civilisation state’s legitimacy is derived from a distinct civilisation that Samuel Huntington defined as “… the highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest cultural identity people have”.

Among the questions to be addressed:

  • Is this trend towards civilisation politics threatening to displace the nation-state as the highest form of legitimate authority, as the modern world has come to embrace it?
  • Do the values that underlie the civilisation state and its implicit claims to cultural supremacy stand in direct contradiction to the liberal secular values espoused by many of the world’s major, modern nation-states?
  • Or can a convergence be reached between universal values and freedoms and the cultural particularisms of civilizational values?
  • Can ‘smaller’ civilisations co-exist in a framework of multiple civilisations?