Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

The Return of Civilization—and of Arnold Toynbee?

  • Krishan Kumar (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

After a period of neglect, civilization as a concept seems once more to have regained popularity among a number of historians and social scientists. Why? What is the appeal of civilization today? And might the return of civilization also herald a return to the work of Arnold Toynbee, once regarded as the towering figure of civilizational analysis? This paper considers the history of the concept of civilization, and argues for the continuing importance and relevance of Toynbee's multi-volume A Study of History within that tradition. The claim is that, whatever the weaknesses of Toynbee's general approach, the civilizational perspective he adopts allows him to cast an illuminating light on many important historical questions. Moreover his belief in the “philosophical contemporaneity” and equal value of all civilizations should make him peculiarly attractive to those many today who reject Eurocentrism and who are increasingly persuaded of the need to consider the total human experience from earliest times up to the present.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The Return of Civilization—and of Arnold Toynbee?
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The Return of Civilization—and of Arnold Toynbee?
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The Return of Civilization—and of Arnold Toynbee?
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
kk2d@virginia.edu
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Said Amir Arjomand and Edward A. Tiryakian , eds. 2004. Rethinking Civilizational Analysis. London: Sage Publications.

Peter L. Berger and Samuel P. Huntington , eds. 2002. Many Globalizations: Cultural Diversity in the Contemporary World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Edmund Burke III . 1993. Introduction: Marshall G. S. Hodgson and World History. In Marshall G. S. Hodgson , Rethinking World History: Essays on Europe, Islam, and World History. Edmund Burke III , ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ixxxi.

Patricia Crone . 2012. The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran: Rural Revolt and Local Zoroastrianism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

M. K. Gandhi 2009 [1909]. Hind Swaraj, and other Writings. Anthony J. Parel , ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jack Goody . 1996. The East in the West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chris Hann . 2011. Back to Civilization. Anthropology Today 27, 6: 12.

John M. Hobson 2004. The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Marshall G. S. Hodgson 1974. The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in World Civilization. 3 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Krishan Kumar . 2003. The Making of English National Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Marcel Mauss . 2004 [1930]. Civilizational Forms. In Said Amir Arjomand and Edward A. Tiryakian , eds., Rethinking Civilizational Analysis. London: Sage Publications, 2129.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 29
Total number of PDF views: 131 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 280 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.