The possibility that a civilization might not succumb to the advance of history depends on its capacity to react to the challenges that emanate from it. If, on one hand, ascent and decline are (in general) considered characteristics typical of all civilizations, on the other hand it is possible to also see them as a different and less evident phenomenon: one which is made up of the transformation of civilizations into other civilizations and in their expressions of social innovation phenomena.
Clearly, it does not make sense to reason in terms of universal determinism, that is, with the idea of a necessary cycle that always works similarly both in different historical moments as well as in geographic and social contexts. Nor is it correct to reduce the multiplicity of civilizing processes to a unique model of “civilization”. The historical dynamics of civilization work differently and do not act only from the outside upon individuals and social groups. On the contrary, within these processes, individuals generate or internalize certain values, which make them bearers – through their existence – in the increasingly broader environment in which they live.
Today, more than in the past, both individuals and their surrounding contexts are globally connected. The interaction between different processes of civilization continuously manifests itself, generating a possible twofold development: a progressive clash between civilizations originating from the conflict between the different identities that contend for hegemony over a world perceived as global but also delineated by defined and irreducible spaces and identities; or an idea of civilization that is decentralized and de-spatialized originating from a dynamic of continuous hybridization, shaped by the intangible flows that crisscross the globe.
The multiplicity of ongoing processes and their temporal durations may push towards a more plural redefinition of globalization understood as the set of ways in which different cultures acknowledge (or have conceived) the interdependence and contact between civilizations. Thinking about what were, or are, the relationships between different civilizations and different “globalizations” as well as how they change the processes of civilization in relation to plural global dynamics, can undoubtedly offer new paradigms in which to understand social complexity with hermeneutical modalities that are just as complex.
Deadline: January 31, 2019.
This issue is scheduled to appear at end-March 2019.