Chapter I

 

Combining Research on Cultural Theory

and International Relations

YU XINTIAN*

 

With the new technological revolution and the economic globalization, the intensity of contacts among countries in the world has been enhanced in an unprecedented way. The end of the Cold War has terminated the hostility between the two camps and promoted a new way of connection among countries. In recent decades, the theory of international relations has become the most flourishing, most charming and fastest-changing discipline, which is logical. Western mainstream ‘international relations’ theory has developed swiftly from ignoring cultural roles to paying attention to cultural research and even setting forward the proposition of culture constructing international relations. But this is only the first step. This paper will discuss how to deepen absorption of findings in cultural theoretic research and combine them with research on international relations so as to enrich and develop international relations theory and construct the framework of international ‘culturology’.

WESTERN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORY: FROM CULTURAL LACK TO CULTURAL CENTER

Since the founding of the Western discipline of ‘international relations’ in 1919, there has been an immense collection of theoretical works. After World War II, the U.S.A.has controlled the "mainstream" of the Western international relations research. Debates among the three main schools of realism, liberalism and "critical theory" have had frequent high tides and are in the ascendant. As is known to all, in the early debate between idealism and realism, the focus of international relations research was power, interest, security, strategy, hegemony and order. At the stalemate between neo-realism and neo-liberalism which followed, new contents such as economic interdependence, conflict and cooperation, national interests and global issues were added. Though scholars also used terms containing rich cultural factors such as "morale," "ideal," "humanity," and "ideology," they were marginal words, subordinate to power and interest and of no consequence. With economic dimension increasingly prominent besides military and political dimensions, research on international relations has become richer. The mainstream international relations theory has numerous significant achievements and far-reaching influence, but ignorance of cultural research has become its fatal weakness.

After the 1980s, critical theory (including postmodernism, feminism de-constructivism and constructivism) arose and especially after the Cold War in the 1990s tended to flourish. Culture began to enter the center of research on international relations. From the beginning, critical theory aimed its spearhead directly at the crux of the traditional theories, that is, the whole Western thought was based on core concepts. Its task was to "liberate" the originally forgotten and constrained issues. The traditional theories maintained that knowledge was free from the influence of power. But postmodernism pointed out that power created knowledge: there was interconnection between them and the field of knowledge, to a certain extent, served power. Ashley pointed out that a modern state’s knowledge is modern man’s knowledge. Man provides knowledge and makes explanations of the history. Bartelson pointed out that if there were no proper knowledge form for explaining sovereignty in clear terms, sovereignty would not exist and the ability to organize the political reality would be lost. Likewise, if there were no proper ‘sovereignty form’, knowledge would lose the ability to organize the fields of exploration and set truth standards. Without political and historical background and without time and space, knowledge cannot be summarized. Therefore, in research on international relations, there exists no dominant perspective but rather competitive perspectives. The critical theory broke the fixed mode of thought of the mainstream theory and promoted new consideration by bringing to light the latter’s defect of ignoring social and cultural factors. But it is hard to shape its own international political theory by discussing abstractly around "super-theory".

Challenged by critical theory and especially assaulted by the drastic changes in post-Cold War international reality, the mainstream international relations theory began to divert its attention to civilization and culture. There appeared three most prominent theories, that is, "clash of civilizations" theory, "soft power" theory and constructivism theory. Huntington’s "clash of civilizations" theory has aroused one comment after another all over the world, which is unfinished by now. But, without really understanding Huntington’s theory, the criticism in some comments has failed to strike home. Huntington is very keen in some aspects and has revealed the crux of the matter. First, he holds that in the post-Cold War world, global politics has become multi-polar and multi-cultural for the first time in the history. Western civilization is unique, but not universal. The world with cultural pluralism is unavoidable, because it is impossible to build a global empire. Safeguarding world security needs accepting global cultural diversity. Second, nation states are and will be the most important factor in the world affairs, but their interests, alliance and conflict are increasingly influenced by factors of culture and civilization. However, fundamentally, he has not shaken off the Cold War mentality. In his terms, regional politics is racial politics, global politics is civilization politics and clash of civilizations replaces competition between superpowers. In essence, clash of civilizations is struggle between the unified Western civilization and other civilizations. It seems more important that such a traditional thought has had to recognize world cultural diversity and the tremendous role of culture.

Joseph Nye’s "soft power" theory is also arousing popular interest. He defines value standards, market economy and Western civilization as factors of soft power so as to be relative to hard power of military strength. Interdependence is an intangible power. Knowledge is more of power. First, he pointed out that economic and cultural factors play an increasingly great role in international relations and the nature of soft power cannot be explained and assessed by geopolitics. Second, soft power becomes inevitable, making all the countries either fully follow or feel forced to follow. Its effectiveness is, to a certain extent, more than hard power. Lastly, soft power and hard power are complementary rather than incompatible. The soft power theory has promoted understanding of cultural role and become a new growth point in research on international relations. But it is yet premature and seems feeble. Besides, it may be too simple to regard soft power only as "cooperative power".

Constructivism is the most important development in Western international relations theory, represented by Alexander Wendt’s book Social Theory of International Politics. First, he recognizes that states, states’ systems and other social structures are objectively existing things and collective social phenomena, which, as far as individuals are concerned, cannot be turned into subjective concepts. But societies and the world are built through people’s practices. Second, common social concepts have constructed the structure of the international system and entrusted driving force to it. Neo-realism and neo-liberalism stress the point that power and interest are the driving force of international politics while concepts are of little importance. But Wendt holds that the most important role of concepts is constructional rather than causal; the significance and role of power and interest result from concepts. The gap in power between Germany and Denmark has not changed, but in 1940 Germany invaded and occupied Denmark, and in 2000 the two countries coexisted. It is because Germany has changed its concepts of its own interests, power and relations with other countries. Third, neo-realism considers that the world anarchy has the single logic, that is, states are forms of ‘self-help’ and compete with each other. Wendt disagrees. He sets forward at least three anarchic cultures. In Hobbesian culture, the mutual orientation between states is enemy. In Lockean culture, the mutual orientation is rival. In Kantian culture, the orientation is friend. Different concepts and cultures can construct different kinds of anarchy. Lastly, though changes in common concepts may lead to different international relations, it does not mean that changes are easy, because it is difficult for one country or even some countries to change the system culture. Therefore, national policy makers have a grave responsibility, with not only possibility of choice but also moral responsibility. Major powers have strength and are less restrained by the existing standardized environment, so they have more ability to innovate culture. These views are of "revolutionary" significance. Wendt’s work was considered the most developed version of constructivist theory in international relations in the 20th century. Critics hold that Wendt’s constructivism has not shaken off "ideal elements" and lacks the sense of history and system, which is reasonable. But from the perspective of cultural research in international relations, constructivism has just begun.

Sorting out the trains of thought in Western international relations theory, we have found that the importance of culture has been increasingly enhanced. The critical theory has overturned the ignorance of traditional theories about culture. The "clash of civilizations" theory maintains that differences among civilizations will be the source of international conflict. The "soft power" theory sets forward the point that the intangible attraction of culture and ideology is superior to military compulsion. And constructivism holds that belief, norm, concept and other cultural contents construct the basic structure of international politics. The changes in trends of thought in the past ten years are astonishing and have rapidly reflected the realistic changes in post-Cold War international relations. The fact that culture has turned from being of little importance to holding the balance has made even those who insist on the traditional theory of international relations to respond to theoretic queries and re-explain their own viewpoints.

However, constructivism has just laid a foundation and set a starting point for how culture plays a role in international relations, but a complete system has not yet been constructed. It has enriched the theory of international relations by using for reference theories of philosophy, sociology and culturology. It is vital to further use for reference the theory of culturology to develop the cultural research in international relations.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE THEORY OF

CULTUROLOGY

Many international phenomena remain unexplainable only by making use of geopolitical and geo-economic viewpoints. It shows that a kind of theory is in reality similar to an ideology and can reveal some truths and also screen some truths. Creating cultural research in international relations requires another set of terms, concepts, thoughts and theories as well as new explanations of realistic issues in international relations to deepen people’s realization. Introduction of the theory of culturology will be conducive to understanding the complexity of development within culture and cross-cultural relations.

Orientation of Cultural Values

Judgment of cultural values has been involved more and more frequently in international relations. Hubert Vedrine, French Foreign Minister, wrote an article saying that one of the main tasks of French foreign policy is to make contribution to strengthening the democratic system of the world. When undemocratic states repress the common people, threatening regional stability, France will not only condemn them, but also take actions and even armed interference. Western countries generally hold similar viewpoints, linking aid with human rights. The U.S.A. in particular exerts itself to the utmost to forcibly spread values such as democracy and human rights. Research in cultural anthropology tells us that, only by judging in terms of the whole cultural background rather than some abstract and absolute standard, can we understand the accustomed way of behavior and belief. Any society is only one of the many previous and present social formations and each custom is meaningful only in the inherent logic of a particular society. The standard of behavior has its subjectivity, relativity and lastingness. Marinovski said that culture first of all must guarantee the human subsistence. The people’s living environment is their source of resources. They realize the resources through culture and utilize resources by inventing technology. The achievements of different crowds don’t result from the covert biological force but from culture. Such a realization has a strong function of education and can overcome the racist prejudice.

On the other hand, the orientation of cultural values also has its objectivity, absoluteness and simultaneousness. Though all societies are in some historical span of their own development, they coexist in the world system and make concerted efforts to resolve the issues facing them. Therefore, simultaneousness has appeared. Modernization, peace and development are the objectives all the societies pursue. Modernization includes cultural modernization, that is, a process of cultural development from low grade to high grade. Under these circumstances, cultures are comparable in development stage and have the objectivity of comparison. Development from low grade to high grade is absolute. In the process of development, cultures are upgraded through modernization and spread to the whole world and can also contribute their unique cultural values to mankind, shaping the human shared values gradually. Now only Western culture has completed this process. However, it doesn’t mean that other cultures have no ability to do so. We can expect their achievements. The reason why the world paid so much attention to East Asian cultural values when exploring its miracles lies in this.

In the colonialist and imperialist era, vulgar evolutionism boosted Western centralism and preyed on Asian, African and Latin American ethnic groups by either assimilating or destroying their cultures. Only in the post-colonialism world, can cultural pluralism be possible. As American scholar Gerrit W. Gong said, the contemporary international society remains multicultural (as opposed to completely cosmopolitan). The politics of culture have been too long overlooked and underestimated. Only on the basis of recognizing all cultural values, can we spur the people to voluntarily achieve cultural modernization, take the initiative to learn and use for reference fine factors of external cultures and create their own new ethnic cultures. Also only under these circumstances, is it possible to criticize and discard dregs of culture. Western countries regard Western cultural values as universal values, which they impose on others. This will not work and also runs counter to the desire of others.

Cultural Cognition

In the "global village," the exchanges between personnel of all the countries in the world and flow of funds, materials and information in an endless stream allow those who have never gone abroad to feel the pulse of the world. International relations must be based on mutual understanding among ethnic groups while cultural cognition is the key to the secret. The common phenomenon in the current international relations is "lack of mutual trust". Among many reasons for suspicions and doubts, misunderstanding is the fundamental one. That one country considers another country’s goodwill malice is often the mistake of cultural misunderstanding.

The position of human intelligence is culture. Culture determines which languages, manners and proprieties are normal and moral. Culture is the norm of interrelations between people and is the treasury extinction. In any case, culture guarantees normal social life, order and some predictability.

Research into religion in the theory of culturology is profound and full of insight. Today, religion has also become a factor which cannot be neglected in international relations. Though the tide of secularization is rising, religion remains the general attribute of culture. Murphy correctly pointed out that nature and supernature are defined according to culture. Therefore, when Westerners move closer to religions of other societies with their own scope, there is indeed the danger of imposing external scope on others’ beliefs and behaviors. From the perspective of history, the development of monotheism was coincident with the emergence of centralized state power and religion added mysterious support to social composition. Religion, in the transcendental form, allows people to consider and exchange dim consciousness and life process, to express indescribable things and to substantiate abstract things. Religious voice always arises where ordinary methods of understanding and exchange fail. Reverence, encouragement and joy come from participation of groups and religious activities are assembly of believers or denominations. Marx revealed that religion is feeling of the merciless world and plays a role of consolation; religion tends to support the established system and morale. Max Weber pointed out that a new religion always has revolutionary force. Regardless of religious or secular illusion and ideology, it is often they that receive the conservative backing of order. As far as the extent of people believing in their own existence and adjusting their own behavior to adapt to belief is concerned, belief has social truthfulness. Religion manifests cultural truth, because it symbolizes social relations and reflects the human anxiety and hope.

Cultural Contacts

The earlier cultural research laid stress on cultural stability or unchanged aspects of culture. It was more suitable to small, isolated and less-developed ethnic groups. Among others, values, the crux of culture, are the most difficult to change. However, the current cultural research pays more attention to cultural changes, considering change unavoidable. Change is an eternal phenomenon in all cultures and social systems. For this reason, we especially differentiate traditional culture from cultural tradition. The former means cultural books and records and customs in some historical period, while the latter refers to changed culture and living tradition up to the present date. Research on cultural change has achieved considerable results, because anthropologists and other social scientists have attached more and more importance to the issues facing the peoples of developing countries in the process of their modernization.

Innovation is the basis of cultural change. The change in cultural internal development always results from discovery or invention, while the change in cultural external development comes from dissemination and borrowing, which are the most universal form of innovation. Most elements in the connotations of culture are borrowed. Dissemination and borrowing have become the main driving force of social progress. In the unprecedented contacts among ethnic groups caused by economic globalization, this theoretic finding is of more realistic significance. Borrowing is selective. People don’t completely accept all things provided by the cultures they touch, but decide whether to accept or to repel according to effectiveness, adaptability and meaning for their own culture. The speed of accepting the innovation of another culture depends on its relative superiority, adaptability, complexity, feasibility and identifiability over the receiving culture. In an "unbalanced" system, borrowing is easier. There is no perfectly integrated society and in a society grievance and imbalance always exist. If problems deteriorated to the level of affecting numerous people, they might challenge the status quo. Such a society is easier to change than a satisfactory society. People all recognize that some parts in the connotations of culture are more solid and more difficult to change than other parts, but there exist different views on which part is more solid. Anthropology strongly holds that change in behavior is prior to change in belief. But the viewpoint of sociology is ideological system is more fundamental and can restrain or promote change. For example, Max Weber’s ‘Protestant ethic’ led to development of capitalism. But psychologists consider that the earlier things are learned, the more difficult they are to change.

Anthropology calls cultural change caused by contacts between societies "acculturation". The process of acculturation begins when two or more societies have direct and sustained contact with each other. It is not limited to a few groups, but is a universal phenomenon, that is, cultural dissemination in a large scope. Generally speaking, cultural "net flow" is always from the strong to the weak, but it is not a one-way flow.10  When Europeans came to America, they compelled Indians to accept the European mode of production and lifestyle, but they also reaped no little benefit by introducing tobacco, potato, corn, tomato and other crops tamed by Indians. In this process of contact, the two societies both change, in varying degrees. This research and the extension of coverage of anthropology diverted attention from primitive society to complicated ones. The focus of research also turned from acculturation to impacts of modernization on countries: how to maintain personal values during drastic changes in tradition; how to give play to superiority of different cultures when industrialization creates more similarities among societies.

Acculturation also may often bring about destruction and pressure to the culture of the receiving party, because changes in some elements or some small system within the cultural system can spread to the whole system, leading to instability. The receiving party may deal with destruction and pressure with a response movement, trying to restore the meaning and contents of its lifestyle. Anthropologists call it "renaissance", that is, prudent, organized and conscious efforts of social members to create a more satisfactory and more meaningful culture. Renaissance can be categorized as follows: Nativist movement with characteristics of eliminating external thoughts, goods and foreigners; revival movement featured by reestablishing lost or fading thoughts and customs; religious renaissance characterized by stressing transformation of the world into an idealized one by supernatural means. This has made us have a deeper understanding of the response of the weak under the assaults of economic globalization.

Cultural Toleration

The proposal of a cultural concept is of revolutionary significance. It marks an important step towards social objectification and demystification. In the past people used the holy or mystery symbolism to describe some society, while now they use scientific language to describe and analyze it. Things are no longer unchangeable for ages. Some reverential supernatural forces have become the targets of criticism. Once we understand the strength of culture, we can tolerate and control it. People can consciously guide changes and promote dissemination and even acculturation. Renaissance is one of the responses to cultural acculturation and has its rationality and also negative aspects. Realization of the strength of culture is helpful in eliminating ethnic and cultural prejudice. Cultural misunderstanding because of distance; difference in measures of ethic, morale and value; divergence in social and political concepts; difference in customs and habits; divergence caused in the process of cultural dissemination and error in judgment among cultural receivers;—these have all facilitated ethnic and cultural prejudice. But more severe is the evil propaganda of cultural and ethnic centralism. Now that the human culture has its diversity and uniformity and it can make progress only by learning from each other and coming together for emulation, there is no need for doubting toleration of cultures. Guiding or directing cultural change will be one of the main tasks of governments and leaders of countries in the world.

CREATING A FRAMEWORK FOR INTERNATIONAL CULTUROLOGY

The aim of combining more closely the theory of international relations with the cultural theory is to create the third subdivision of research on international relations, ‘international culturology’, besides international politics and international economics. This author wrote an article in 1999 and put forward this tentative idea. Using the term of international culture rather than world culture is to avoid some misunderstanding that there seems to be a unified world culture. International culturology is the abbreviation of cultural research in international relations.11  To fulfill this task, the first issue is whether it is necessary to establish such a discipline. Foe instance, Wendt’s constructivism puts a lot of stress on the role of culture, maintaining that international structure is not a social rather than material phenomenon. Since the basis of sociality is shared knowledge, it leads to an idealist view of structure as a "distribution of knowledge" or "ideas all the way down" (or almost anyway). 12  His natural conclusion is culture is not a sector or sphere of society distinct from the economy or polity, but present wherever shared knowledge is found. If economy and polity are institutionally distinct spheres in a society, as in capitalism, it is only because culture constitutes them as such.13  This author disagrees with him.

In his address to the UNESCO General Conference in 1980, Pope John Paul II said that just because of culture mankind has really lived a decent life. Culture is a special way of life and existence of mankind. Mankind always lives on the basis of its peculiar culture; conversely, culture creates a kind of interrelation peculiar to mankind, which determines the interpersonal features of human life. While culture as a special way of existence of the mankind has its uniformity, there is cultural diversity. It is in such diversity that mankind lives—Culture is the basis for why mankind has become mankind and it has made mankind more perfect or increasingly perfect.14  This reflects a cultural concept in a broad sense. On the other hand, there is a cultural concept in a narrow sense, that is, culture being the synthesis of knowledge, belief, morale and norm. It not only exists but also appears in the form of ideology, academic finding, literature and art and spreads through various forms of media. Human recognition of and research on this phenomenon can be traced back to thousands of years ago. Culture has its uniqueness and independent character. Even in research fields of social sciences, full attention has been paid to its uniqueness and thus cultural studies have been set up. Negating culture’s uniqueness and independent character by reason of extensive permeability of culture in the cultural concept in a broad sense will obviously damage our insight into everything including international relations. It is of more significance to put stress on culture today when its impacts on international relations are increasing.

Since culture has its uniqueness and independent character, its impacts on international relations also have uniqueness. Separating cultural research from others, we can observe and analyze various phenomena in a more detailed and deep-going way and summarize their unique law. Becoming independent disciplines, world politics and world economics have made great progress. Schools have showed off their different viewpoints, spurring more researchers and more results on making us better understand the political and economic fields in international relations. However, the inherent theories in world politics and world economics cannot explain many phenomena. For example, why are nuclear and chemical weapons defined as "weapons of mass destruction"? Can’t conventional weapons inflict heavy casualties? In reality, persons killed in the conventional wars after WWII are more than those killed in WWII. It is related to the definition of ‘morality’ of the world community. Again, why does the U.S.A. not regard the U.K.’s nuclear weapons as a threat and feel threatened by China’s nuclear weapons? The U.S. regards the present era as "market and democracy" era, while China defines the present era as "peace and development" era. What impacts will these differing summarizations exert on their respective foreign policies and interrelations? More importantly, by establishing a relatively independent discipline to explore cultural impacts on states’ domestic and foreign policies as well as contacts, judgment and understanding among states and their cultural roles in constructing international organizations and institutions, we can direct behaviors of states and their peoples to push forward the international community in the direction of peace, democracy, justice, civilization and prosperity.

In research of social sciences, besides analysis, there are many methods such as synthesis and comparison. When world politics and world economics developed independently to a rather mature level, but people didn’t rest content with observing separately and wanted to explore more deeply their common roles and the interaction of politics and economy, political economy in international relations was established. Similarly, when international culturology develops to a certain level, cross-disciplines and new disciplines may emerge. The issue of relations between cultural values and economic development heatedly debated in the international academia may expedite the birth of international economic culturology.15  International political culturology should be given more concerns. The birth of cross-disciplines and new disciplines is related to the full development of original disciplines and also has a bearing on new issues and demands emerging in reality. This shows from the perspective of development that international culturology is ready to emerge. Only after its formation, can other new disciplines be further opened up.

The aim of international culturology is to recognize culture as an important variable in international relations and make research into cultural status, role and impacts in international relations. Previous demonstrations of global system or global order in fact centered on Western developed countries; in the cultural building in the modern world system there was almost no role for Islamic, Indian or Chinese culture. This was in sharp contrast to the reality. The expansion of the world system in the political and economic sense has not made the expansion of world culture reach a corresponding level. All the players on the world scene don’t have the same prerequisites. Therefore, explanation of the universal presence of main states in the modern world cannot be linked only to capitalist development and expansion, but also must be made in the light of global political culture in finished form. States not only will handle internal affairs but also will resolve the "identity issue" and create "high culture". If they cannot enter this process of creation, it is impossible to be built into modern states. In this sense, development of a modern state also needs "nationalization of culture". On the one hand, any country is linked to the global system and the importance of linkage is increasing. On the other hand, how it is linked to the rest of the world and how it defines its status and interests in the world have spurred domestic debates, resulting in various political, ideological and religious movements. As American sociologist Roland Robertson said, international politics is cultural and we are in the period of cultural politics of global scope.16 

The contents of research in international culturology are rich and extensive. In sum, first, it will explain how culture determines foreign policy and the attitude of international players. There are many kinds of players in the world community, of which the ‘state’ is the most fundamental and most important one. Meanwhile, transnational corporations, international organizations and NGOs also play an increasing role as players. States’ domestic and foreign policies depend on popular will, contention between interest groups and operation of system, which are finally determined by political culture and cultural values. The policies and attitudes of transnational corporations, international organizations and NGOs as players in the international community cannot be separated from a certain context of cultural values too. The crux of the matter is to explore how cultural values exert impact on the attitude towards the outside world of the populace and elite and the foreign policy- making. The attitude to culture is a very subjective factor, but research in social sciences tries to find standards for objective judgment. For instance, it tries to grasp the tendency through a number of questionnaires and inquiry. In the complex process an important reason is that people can only understand other cultures through their own ethnic culture. In this sense, cultural misreading is almost unavoidable. Cultural understanding is just attained in the process of continuously overcoming cultural misunderstanding, sometimes scoring a lucky hit, sometimes acting in a way defeating the original purpose and sometimes "gaining on the roundabouts what one loses on the swings." Cultural innovation is of vital importance. It can direct people’s realization to collective consensus. The formation of cultural collective consensus may greatly promote development of international relations. On the other hand, if suspicions and doubts were grave, international relations would be beset with difficulties. Trust has become a kind of soft capital in international relations and now complaints over lacking in trust are made everywhere. But trust-building is inseparable with cultural understanding and identity. The role of the media is irreplaceable, which can portray the cultural image of state, ethnic group and organization. However, as for cultural partiality of the media, there is no need for reticence. Generally speaking, the media of the strong cultures extend all over the world, which are hard for the weak cultures to resist.

Lastly, how culture plays a role in systemization of international relations. International relations have shaped a series of laws, organizations and mechanisms, which are referred to as international order. Though international relations always consider the world is anarchic, the world is not in chaos, but in an established order, system and mechanism. Any behavior of any state must give consideration to the response of the international community. Behavior severely destroying the order, system and mechanism will certainly be condemned, sanctioned and even interfered with by the world community. Issues such as how laws, organizations, mechanisms and order are formed, and their cultural reasons, and how to transform and construct them, all involve an extensive and profound cultural background. Initially, international law, international organizations and mechanisms were almost all born in the context of European culture. After WWII, they were marked obviously by American culture and the cultural participation of many newly emerged countries was added to them. Strengthening the systemization capability of culture is bound to be what every country yearns for. But research into this aspect is very weak.

To sum up, the contents for research of international culturology are rich and challenging. There are numerous difficulties in creating a new discipline. The biggest is how to combine cultural diversity with cultural uniformity. The world is plural. The value orientation of cultural diversity should be the axis of a world pluralism developing to the full, no matter whether the diversity is beneficial to itself, others or the world. The diversity also includes various essential factors of global common culture. Through these factors, a minimum understanding can be promoted between entities. But obviously, cultural diversity has not yet been universally recognized in the world. An expert panel of UNESCO pointed out that real uniformity cannot be mentioned in the same breath with unanimity. Only in the mutually beneficial integration on equal terms of all factors in the whole system can uniformity appear. Real uniformity can only supplement rather than damage diversity. Uniformity at the global level doesn’t need a weakening of diversity at the ethnic, sub-ethnic and regional levels. Conversely, diversity at the ethnic, local and regional levels is the enduring prerequisite of integration at the global level. Mankind needs diversity and also uniformity. To build the world into ‘one’, with both uniformity and diversity, is a challenge to mankind and its culture.17  This is precisely our object of research. We shoulder heavy responsibilities.

NOTES

* Professor Yu Xintian is President of Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

1 See Ni Shixiong etc., Contemporary Western International Relations Theories, 2001, pp.200-219.

2 Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Xinhua Press, 1998, pp.5.and 368.

3 Joseph Nye, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, Military Translation Press, 1992, p. 25.

4 Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, Shanghai People’s Publishing House, 2000, pp. 39-43.

5 Hubert Vedrine, "Diplomacy Serves Democracy", Die Welt, February 22, 2001.

6 Gerrit W. Gong, The Standard of ‘Civilization’ in International Society, Clarendon Press, 1984, p. 244.

7 Robert F. Murphy, Culture and Introduction of Social Anthropology, Commercial Press, 1994, pp. 52-55.

8 Ibid., p. 206.

9 Clyde M. Woods, Cultural Change, Hebei People’s Publishing House, 1988, p. 3, pp. 23-26.

10 "Net flow" means flow minus that in the opposite direction.

11 See this author, "Outline of Research in International Culture", Academic Quarterly, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, No. 1, 1999.

12 Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, Shanghai People’s Publishing House, 2000, p. 23, p. 181.

13 Ibid.

14 Quoted from Zhang Hongyan, Ethnic and Cultural Prejudice: New Views on Comparison between Chinese and Western Cultures, Liaoning Education Publishing House, 1993, p. 21.

15 See Samuel Huntington et al, ed., Important Role of Culture: How Values Influence Human Progress, Xinhua Press, 2000.

16 Roland Robertson, Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture, Shanghai People’s Publishing House, 2000, p. 7.

17 Multicultural Celestial Body: Report of Expert Panel of UNESCO, Social Sciences Literature Press, 2001, pp. 2-3, pp. 232.



Last Revised 07-Feb-09 12:24 PM.