Non-West Model: Does the Civilization-State Exist?

Non-West Model:
Does the Civilization-State Exist?

Naumkin V.V.,

Full Member of RAS, President, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences,

elibrary_id: 71351 | RESEARCHER_ID: R-9576-2019

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2020.04.06

For citation:

Naumkin V.V. Non-West Model: Does the Civilization-State Exist? – Polis. Political Studies. 2020. No. 4. P. 78-93. (In Russ.).


The article reviews some aspects of civilizationism as a trend in self-positioning strategies as adopted by several Asian states, primarily by China and India, as well as some other nations. Close attention is paid to the concept of the civilization-state (CS), as distinct from the nation state (NS). This allows the specific characteristics of the largest non-Western nations to be unveiled; these are linked to their thousand-year history, traditional cultural codes (deeply rooted in both public and elite mindsets), and the resentment of universalism and of any attempts to impose an alien system of values upon them. It is inferred that Russia meets the civilization-state criteria in such a way that aligns it with the nation state category; within this frame of reference, certain states are shown to fall in between these two categories, as they can demonstrate only a limited range of prerequisites to qualify their inclusion on the civilization-state list. In this context, a number of states in the Arab World are referenced as examples. Two different interpretations of the notion of “civilizatianism” are revealed by examining this definition of the nature and political practices of the states. The authors, representing the interests of the mainstream political bodies of Asian civilizationstates, tend to use this notion in order to emphasize their spiritual and cultural supremacy in response to the exclusive claims to the global leadership, as well as to promote the idea of their “responsible” attitude to society governance and handling of global issues. However, their adversaries treat civilizationism as synonymous with authoritarianism, disrespecting the rights of minorities, archaic political practices, and national egoism. The author views the concept of the civilization-state not only as a weapon of ideological and political struggles, but also as a useful instrument for detecting the genuine peculiarities of such states, distinguishing them from the models based on the principles of neo-liberal democracy and universalism. 

civilization-state, China, guanxi, India, dharma, Eurasionism, civilizationism, identity, nation-state, Arab nationalism, religion.


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Content No. 4, 2020

See also:

De Vreede E.,
Culture, civilization and identity. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No5

Mochalov A.N.,
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Naumkin V.V.,
Modern Convergent Arab Nationalism in the Mirror of Historic Memory. – Polis. Political Studies. 2021. No6

Semenenko I.S.,
Dilemmas of national identity: political risks and social inputs. – Polis. Political Studies. 2009. No6

Fedotova N.N.,
Mass media and the post communist transformations. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No1



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