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Zarachowicz, Weronika

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Télérama - France | 20/06/2007

Amartya Sen refutes the 'clash of civilisations'

In an interview conducted by Weronika Zarachowicz, Indian economist Amartya Sen, awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in 1998, calls the theory of the clash of civilizations developed by Samuel Huntington "poorly conceived, even stupid. ... It's very simple for Islamic fundamentalists to call on this theory in the service of religion and God, and for western governments to do so in defence of our 'civilisation' in danger! Even more so in periods of collective hysteria like those we have experienced since September 11: they have their own momentum and impose their own logic. Remember the First World War and the nationalist obsession felt by the Germans, French and British? The hysteria was so strong that the smallest thing would inflame it. This is the case today with the 'war of civilisations': it was slipped into the collective unconsciousness in the same way that nationalism did in 1914, or the notion of 'race' did in the southern United States during the second half of the 19th Century".

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