Samuel P. Huntington

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In The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations (1957), [14] Huntington presents a general theory of civil–military relations. Huntington proposes a theory of objective civilian control, according to which the optimal means of asserting control over the armed forces is to professionalize them.

Political Order in Changing Societies

In 1968, just as the United States' war in Vietnam was becoming most intense, Huntington published Political Order in Changing Societies, which was a critique of the modernization theory which had affected much US policy regarding the developing world during the prior decade.

Huntington argued that as societies modernize, they become more complex and disordered. If the process of social modernization that produces this disorder is not matched by a process of political and institutional modernization—a process which produces political institutions capable of managing the stress of modernization—the result may be violence.

During the 1970s, Huntington was an advisor to governments, both democratic and dictatorial. During 1972, he met with Medici government representatives in Brazil; a year later he published the report "Approaches to Political Decompression", warning against the risks of a too-rapid political liberalization, proposing gradual liberalization, and a strong party state modeled upon the image of the Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party. After a prolonged transition, Brazil became democratic during 1985.

During the 1980s, he became a valued adviser to the South African regime, which used his ideas on political order to craft its "total strategy" to reform apartheid and suppress growing resistance. He assured South Africa's rulers that increasing the repressive power of the state (which at that time included police violence, detention without trial, and torture) can be necessary to effect reform. The reform process, he told his South African audience, often requires "duplicity, deceit, faulty assumptions and purposeful blindness." He thus gave his imprimatur to his hosts' project of "reforming" apartheid rather than eliminating it. [15]

Huntington frequently cited Brazil as a success, alluding to his role in his 1988 presidential address to the American Political Science Association, commenting that political science played a modest role in this process. Critics, such as British political scientist Alan Hooper, note that contemporary Brazil has an especially unstable party system, wherein the best institutionalized party, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's Workers' Party, emerged in opposition to controlled transition. Moreover, Hooper claims that the lack of civil participation in contemporary Brazil results from that top-down process of political participation transitions.

The Third Wave

In his 1991 book The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century, Huntington made the argument that beginning with Portugal's revolution during 1974, there has been a third wave of democratization which describes a global trend which includes more than 60 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa which have undergone some form of democratic transition. Huntington won the 1992 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for this book. [16]

"The Clash of Civilizations"

Map of the nine "civilizations" from Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" Clash of Civilizations mapn2.png
Map of the nine "civilizations" from Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations"

In 1993, Huntington provoked great debate among international relations theorists with the interrogatively titled "The Clash of Civilizations?", an influential, oft-cited article published in Foreign Affairs magazine. In the article, he argued that, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Islam would become the biggest obstacle to Western domination of the world. The West's next big war therefore, he said, would inevitably be with Islam. [17] Its description of post-Cold War geopolitics and the "inevitability of instability" contrasted with the influential "End of History" thesis advocated by Francis Fukuyama.

Huntington expanded "The Clash of Civilizations?" to book length and published it as The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order in 1996. The article and the book posit that post-Cold War conflict would most frequently and violently occur because of cultural rather than ideological differences. That, whilst in the Cold War, conflict occurred between the Capitalist West and the Communist Bloc East, it now was most likely to occur between the world's major civilizations—identifying seven, and a possible eighth: (i) Western, (ii) Latin American, (iii) Islamic, (iv) Sinic (Chinese), (v) Hindu, (vi) Orthodox, (vii) Japanese, and (viii) African. This cultural organization contrasts the contemporary world with the classical notion of sovereign states. To understand current and future conflict, cultural rifts must be understood, and culture—rather than the State—must be accepted as the reason for war. Thus, Western nations will lose predominance if they fail to recognize the irreconcilable nature of cultural tensions. Huntington argued that this post-Cold War shift in geopolitical organization and structure requires the West to strengthen itself culturally, by abandoning the imposition of its ideal of democratic universalism and its incessant military interventionism. Underscoring this point, Huntington wrote in the 1996 expansion, "In the emerging world of ethnic conflict and civilizational clash, Western belief in the universality of Western culture suffers three problems: it is false; it is immoral; and it is dangerous." [18]

The identification of Western Civilization with Western Christianity (Catholic-Protestant) was not Huntington's original idea, it was rather the traditional Western opinion and subdivision before the Cold War era. [19] Critics (for example articles in Le Monde Diplomatique ) call The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order the theoretical legitimization of American-caused Western aggression against China and the world's Islamic and Orthodox cultures. Other critics argue that Huntington's taxonomy is simplistic and arbitrary, and does not take account of the internal dynamics and partisan tensions within civilizations. Furthermore, critics argue that Huntington neglects ideological mobilization by elites and unfulfilled socioeconomic needs of the population as the real causal factors driving conflict, that he ignores conflicts that do not fit well with the civilizational borders identified by him, and they charge that his new paradigm is nothing but realist thinking in which "states" became replaced by "civilizations". [20] Huntington's influence upon US policy has been likened to that of historian Arnold Toynbee's controversial religious theories about Asian leaders during the early twentieth century. The New York Times obituary on Huntington states that his "emphasis on ancient religious empires, as opposed to states or ethnicities, [as sources of global conflict] gained ... more cachet after the Sept. 11 attacks." [21]

Huntington wrote that Ukraine might divide along the cultural line between the more Catholic western Ukraine and Orthodox eastern Ukraine:

While a statist approach highlights the possibility of a Russian-Ukrainian war, a civilizational approach minimizes that and instead highlights the possibility of Ukraine splitting in half, a separation which cultural factors would lead one to predict might be more violent than that of Czechoslovakia but far less bloody than that of Yugoslavia. [22]

Who Are We and immigration

Huntington's last book, Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity, was published in May 2004. Its subject is the meaning of American national identity and what he describes as a cultural threat from large-scale immigration by Latinos, which Huntington says could "divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages". In this book, he called for America to force immigrants to "adopt English" and the US to turn to "Protestant religions" to "save itself against the threats" of Latino and Islamic immigrants. In a book review for the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, Gary M. Segura, Dean of the UCLA School of Public Affairs, [23] asserted that the book should not be considered social science because of its divisive views and rhetoric. [24] Segura also called Huntington's writing of the book unforgivable on account of Huntington's academic position, saying that the work was a polemic rather than a work of scholarship. [24]


Huntington is credited with inventing the phrase Davos Man , referring to global elites who "have little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite's global operations". The phrase refers to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where leaders of the global economy meet. [25]

During the 1980s, the South African apartheid government of P. W. Botha became increasingly preoccupied with security. On Huntington's advice, Botha's government established a powerful state security apparatus to "protect" the state against an anticipated upsurge in political violence that the reforms were expected to cause. The 1980s became a period of considerable political unrest, with the government becoming increasingly dominated by Botha's circle of generals and police chiefs (known as securocrats), who managed the various States of Emergencies. [26]

National Academy of Sciences controversy

In 1986, Huntington was nominated for membership to the National Academy of Sciences. The nomination was opposed by Serge Lang, a Yale University mathematician inspired by the writings of mathematician Neal Koblitz, who had accused Huntington of misusing mathematics and engaging in pseudo-science. Lang claimed that Huntington distorted the historical record and used pseudo-mathematics to make his conclusions seem convincing. Lang's campaign succeeded; Huntington was twice nominated and twice rejected. A detailed description of these events was published by Lang in "Academia, Journalism, and Politics: A Case Study: The Huntington Case" which occupies the first 222 pages of his 1998 book Challenges. [27]

Huntington's prominence as a Harvard professor and director of Harvard's Center for International Affairs led to significant media coverage of his defeated nomination to the NAS, including by The New York Times and The New Republic. [28] [29] His supporters included Herbert A. Simon, a 1978 laureate of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Simon and Koblitz debated in multiple issues of Mathematical Intelligencer , with other mathematicians joining in through Letters to the Editors column. [30] [31] [32] [33] [34]

Selected publications

As editor:

See also

Related Research Articles

Civilization Complex society

A civilization is any complex society characterized by the development of a political state, social stratification, urbanization, and symbolic systems of communication beyond natural spoken language.

A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a combination of shared features such as language, history, ethnicity, culture and/or territory. A nation is thus the collective identity of a group of people understood as defined by those features. A nation is generally more overtly political than an ethnic group; it has been described as "a fully mobilized or institutionalized ethnic group". Some nations are equated with ethnic groups and some are equated with an affiliation with a social and political constitution. A nation has also been defined as a cultural-political community that has become conscious of its autonomy, unity and particular interests.

Clash of Civilizations Published theory of Samuel P. Huntington about cultural geography

The Clash of Civilizations is a thesis that people's cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post–Cold War world. The American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington argued that future wars would be fought not between countries, but between cultures. It was proposed in a 1992 lecture at the American Enterprise Institute, which was then developed in a 1993 Foreign Affairs article titled "The Clash of Civilizations?", in response to his former student Francis Fukuyama's 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man. Huntington later expanded his thesis in a 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.

<i>The End of History and the Last Man</i> 1992 book by Francis Fukuyama

The End of History and the Last Man is a 1992 book of political philosophy by American political scientist Francis Fukuyama which argues that with the ascendancy of Western liberal democracy—which occurred after the Cold War (1945–1991) and the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991)—humanity has reached "not just ... the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: That is, the end-point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." For the book, which is an expansion of his essay "The End of History?", Fukuyama draws upon the philosophies and ideologies of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx, who define human history as a linear progression, from one socioeconomic epoch to another.

<i>Foreign Affairs</i> Academic journal

Foreign Affairs is an American magazine of international relations and U.S. foreign policy published by the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. Founded on 15 September 1922, the print magazine is currently published every two months, while the website publishes articles daily and anthologies every other month.

Democratization Trend towards democratic norms in a society

Democratization, or democratisation, is the transition to a more democratic political regime, including substantive political changes moving in a democratic direction. It may be the transition from an authoritarian regime to a full democracy, a transition from an authoritarian political system to a semi-democracy or transition from a semi-authoritarian political system to a democratic political system.

Westernization, also Europeanisation or occidentalization, is a process whereby societies come under or adopt Western culture in areas such as industry, technology, science, education, politics, economics, lifestyle, law, norms, mores, customs, traditions, values, mentality, perceptions, diet, clothing, language, writing system, religion, and philosophy. During colonialism it often involved the spread of Christianity.

An insurgency is a violent, armed rebellion against authority waged by small, lightly armed bands who practice guerrilla warfare from primarily rural base areas. The key descriptive feature of insurgency is its asymmetric nature: small irregular forces face a large, well-equipped, regular military force state adversary. Due to this asymmetry, insurgents avoid large-scale direct battles, opting instead to blend in with the civilian population where they gradually expand territorial control and military forces. Insurgency frequently hinges on control of and collaboration with local populations.

Nihonjinron is a genre of texts that focus on issues of Japanese national and cultural identity.

Modernization theory is used to explain the process of modernization within societies. The "classical" theories of modernization of the 1950s and 1960s drew on sociological analyses of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and a partial reading of Max Weber, and were strongly influenced by the writings on Harvard sociologist Talcott Parsons. Modernization theory was a dominant paradigm in the social sciences in the 1950s and 1960s, then went into a deep eclipse. It made a comeback after 1991, when Francis Fukuyama wrote about the end of the Cold War as confirmation on modernization theory and more generally of universal history. But the theory remains a controversial model.

Neal I. Koblitz is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Washington. He is also an adjunct professor with the Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research at the University of Waterloo. He is the creator of hyperelliptic curve cryptography and the independent co-creator of elliptic curve cryptography.

Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami introduced the idea of Dialogue Among Civilizations as a response to Samuel P. Huntington's theory of a Clash of Civilizations. The term was initially used by Austrian philosopher Hans Köchler who in 1972, in a letter to UNESCO, had suggested the idea of an international conference on the "dialogue between different civilizations" and had organized, in 1974, a first international conference on the role of intercultural dialogue with the support and under the auspices of Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor.

James Kurth is the Claude C. Smith Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Swarthmore College, where he taught defense policy, foreign policy, and international politics. In 2004 Kurth also became the editor of Orbis, a professional journal on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

<i>Political Order in Changing Societies</i>

With his famous book Political Order in Changing Societies, published in 1968, the American political scientist and Harvard professor Samuel P. Huntington is considered to be one of the ”Founing Fathers” of neo-institutionalism, the historical institutionalism. The book is dealing with the role of political institutions in changing political systems. Huntington stated that ”the most important political distinction among countries concerns not their form of government but their degree of government”. As stated by Francis Fukuyama, Huntington argued that political decay was "at least as likely as political development", and that neither "economic nor social development" could proceed without political order, the actual experience of newly independent countries being "one of increasing social and political disorder".

<i>The Soldier and the State</i>

The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations is a 1957 book written by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington. In the book, Huntington advances the theory of objective civilian control, according to which the optimal means of asserting control over the armed forces is to professionalize them. This is in contrast to subjective control, which involves placing legal and institutional restrictions on the military's autonomy. Edward M. Coffman has written that "[a]nyone seriously interested in American military history has to come to terms with Samuel P. Huntington's The Soldier and the State."

Western world Countries with an originally European shared culture

The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, North America, and Oceania. The Western world is also known as the Occident, in contrast to the Orient or Eastern world. It might mean the Northern half of the North–South divide, the countries of the Global North.

Civil–military relations Study of the relationship between a countrys armed forces and civil society/government

Civil–military relations describes the relationship between military organizations and civil society, military organizations and other government bureaucracies, and leaders and the military. CMR incorporates a diverse, often normative field, which moves within and across management, social science and policy scales. More narrowly, it describes the relationship between the civil authority of a given society and its military authority. "The goal of any state is to harness military professional power to serve vital national security interests, while guarding against the misuse of power that can threaten the well-being of its people." Studies of civil-military relations often rest on a normative assumption that it is preferable to have the ultimate responsibility for a country's strategic decision-making to lie in the hands of the civilian political leadership rather than a military.

Anti-Western sentiment Hatred or opposition towards the Western world or its people

Anti-Western sentiment, also known as Anti-Atlanticism or Westernophobia, refers to broad opposition, bias, or hostility towards the people, culture, or policies of the Western world.

Geopolitical imaginations are constructed views of the world that reflect the vision of a place's, a country's or a society's role within world politics. Geopolitical imaginations are constituted by shared assumptions and representations of power relations and conflicts in world politics within a certain geographical territory. By critically analyzing how and why these imaginations are constructed, it is possible to reveal underlying power relations and to get a better understanding of various conflicts. Therefore, geopolitical imaginations are closely connected to the academic field of critical geopolitics.

Ann Hibner Koblitz is a Professor Emerita of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University known for her studies of the history of women in science. She is the Director of the Kovalevskaia Fund, which supports women in science in developing countries.


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  2. Smith, Michael A.; Anderson, Kevin; Rackaway, Chapman (2015). State Voting Laws in America: Historical Statutes and Their Modern Implications. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 73. doi:10.1057/9781137483584. ISBN   978-1-137-48358-4.
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  9. "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter H" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
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  11. Michael C. Desch. 1998. "Soldiers, States, and Structures: The End of the Cold War and Weakening U.S. Civilian Control." Armed Forces & Society. 24(3): 389–405.
  12. Michael C. Desch. 2001. Civilian Control of the Military: The Changing Security Environment. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  13. Peter D. Feaver. 1996. "An American Crisis in Civilian Control and Civil-Military Relations?" The Tocqueville Review. 17(1): 159.
  14. "Samuel P. Huntington The Soldier And The State :the Theory And Politics Of Civil Military Relations Belknap Press ( 1957)" via Internet Archive.
  15. Joseph Lelyveld, Move Your Shadow (New York, 1985), 68–69; Shula Marks and Stanley Trapido, "South Africa Since 1976: an historical perspective," in Shaun Johnson, ed., South Africa: No Turning Back (London, 1988), 28–29
  16. "1992- Samuel Huntington, Herman Daly and John Cobb". Archived from the original on December 2, 2013.
  17. Haruna, Mohammed (September 26, 2001). "Nigeria: September 11 And Huntington's Prophecy" . Daily Trust.
  18. "A Guide to the Work of Samuel Huntington".
  19. Peter Harrison, An Eccentric Tradition: The Paradox of 'Western Values'
  20. see Richard E. Rubenstein and Jarle Crocker (1994): Challenging Huntington, in: Foreign Policy, No. 96 (Autumn, 1994), pp. 113–28
  21. Samuel P. Huntington of Harvard Dies at 81, The New York Times, December 27, 2008
  22. "Testing Huntington in Ukraine". European Tribune.
  23. "Gary Segura Dean UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs".
  24. 1 2 Segura, Gary M. (2005). "Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity". Perspectives on Politics. 3 (3). doi:10.1017/S1537592705460259. S2CID   143248422.
  25. Davos man's death wish, The Guardian, 3 February 2006
  26. Fox, William; Fourie, Marius; Van Wyk, Belinda (1998). Police Management in South Africa. Juta and Company Limited. p. 167.
  27. Lang, Serge (1999). Challenges. New York: Springer. ISBN   978-0-387-94861-4.
  28. Boffey, Philip M. (April 29, 1987). "Prominent Harvard Scholar Barred by Science Academy". The New York Times. section A, page 1.
  29. Zakaria, Fareed (July 27, 1987). "Blood lust in academia: The professor's vendetta". The New Republic. Vol. 197, no. 4. pp. 16–18.
  30. Koblitz, Neal (December 1, 1988). "A tale of three equations; or the emperors have no clothes". The Mathematical Intelligencer. 10 (1): 4–10. doi:10.1007/BF03023843. ISSN   0343-6993. S2CID   121312716.
  31. Koblitz, Neal (December 1, 1988). "Reply to unclad emperors". The Mathematical Intelligencer. 10 (1): 14–16. doi:10.1007/BF03023845. ISSN   0343-6993. S2CID   123030288.
  32. Simon, Herbert A.; Koblitz, Neal (March 1, 1988). "Opinion". The Mathematical Intelligencer. 10 (2): 10–12. doi:10.1007/BF03028350. ISSN   0343-6993.
  33. Simon, Herbert A. (December 1, 1988). "Unclad emperors: A case of mistaken identity". The Mathematical Intelligencer. 10 (1): 11–14. doi:10.1007/BF03023844. ISSN   0343-6993. S2CID   123171596.
  34. Aubert, Karl Egil; Todorov, Audrey; Lazarus, Andrew J.; Simon, Herbert A.; Akin, Ethan; Koblitz, Neal (September 1, 1988). "Letters to the editor". The Mathematical Intelligencer. 10 (4): 3–6. doi:10.1007/BF03023736. ISSN   0343-6993. S2CID   189886367.

Further reading

Samuel P. Huntington
Samuel P. Huntington (2004 World Economic Forum).jpg
Samuel Phillips Huntington

(1927-04-18)April 18, 1927
New York City, U.S.
DiedDecember 24, 2008(2008-12-24) (aged 81)
Education Yale University (BA)
University of Chicago (MA)
Harvard University (PhD)
Political party Democratic
Nancy Arkelyan
(m. 1957)
Academic background
Thesis Clientalism: A Study in Administrative Politics (1951)
Influences Zbigniew Brzezinski
Feliks Koneczny (disputed) [1]
Academic offices
New office Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor Succeeded by
Professional and academic associations
Preceded by President of the American
Political Science Association

Succeeded by
Preceded by Grawemeyer Award for
Ideas Improving World Order

With: John B. Cobb and Herman Daly
Succeeded by