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‘What is civilisation? I don’t know. I can’t define it in abstract terms – yet. But I think I can recognise it when I see it…’ Sir Kenneth Clark’s use of the term ‘civilisation’ in his series with the same name illustrates the ambiguity of the concept; it can perhaps best be described as an Idealtypus similar to Max Weber’s concept, in that its legitimacy can be determined only in terms of adequacy.
Rome conquered Greece, but it is said that Greek culture conquered Rome; will we see new civilisations emerge and dominate the world, or will the challengers instead become Westernised as Western technology and capitalism triumphs? And will ‘Greek culture’ once again conquer ‘Rome’?
Contributors: John Armstrong, Graeme Barker, Örjan Berner, Philip Bobbitt, Peter Burke, Richard Buxton, Stephen Cave, Christopher Coker, Harriet Crawford, Rolf Ekéus, Karsten Fischer, Jack Fuller, Jonathan Haslam, Eva Hoffman, Tom Holland, Jonathan Israel, Robert Johnson, Richard Miles, Rana Mitter, Sheldon Pollock, Göran Rosenberg, Donald Sassoon, Nathan Shachar, Richard Swartz, Dj Taylor, Ruut Veenhoven, David Wengrow, Martin West, Rita P Wright.