Cognitive Analysis Of Civilizational Clashes And Dialogues


During analysis of diverse aspects of civilization clash concept there has been noticed the demand for the model approach. We show that in this case it is reasonable to use the methodology of cognitive analysis as scientific tools. Its analytical advantages are connected with possibility in principle to present the structure and dynamics of the operation of the process under study visually. The conceptual model of the process of civilization clashes by S. Huntington is presented. The model is a contour-nodal structure of an active cyclically generated conflict. The nuclear of the model integrates five basic factors into the closed contour:and. Change of value of any of these factors (increase or decrease) will be supported (strengthened or weakened) in the cycle of positive feedback. Hence it appears that the described model is efficiently capable to lead to both growth of cross-cultural tolerance, smoothing of civilizational rifts and conflict decrease due to positive feedback. As a result there has been developed a conceptual model of counteraction to civilizations clash based on the dialogue. The clear advantage of the proposed model is the possibility in principle of «freeze» (prevention of conflict escalation) reached due to additional highly dynamic contour of counteraction (with negative feedback) and presence of external (from international organizations) resource base of counteraction.

Keywords: Civilizations clash, dialogue, cognitive analysis


The debate related to research and estimates of different aspects of the concept of civilizations clash has been going on already for thirty years in the discourse of the academic community, meetings of policy makers, in different diplomatic documents. The concept goes back to works by Huntington (1993). In these works the cultural nature of civilizations opposition is identified in theory, inevitability of confrontation is grounded and finally clash of civilizations, including military one, is forecasted. Thus, the analysis, the results of which are presented inThe “Clash of Civilizations” and Realism in International Political Thought» by Orsi (2018), shows that Huntington denies all ideas about peace in the world or any cross-civilizational dialogue. He insists on natural division of the world into friends and enemies, which causes eventually civilizational clashes.

Problem Statement

Theoretical and practice-oriented messages of the concept starting with the first publications and up to the present day don’t lose their topicality, consistently provoke a scientific discussion between representatives of different opinions using various arguments and methodologically justified scientific tools. However, in spite of the fact that in a number of works (Danylova, 2016; Lanczov & Lanczova, 2017) they pay attention to the artificial design of the concept of civilizations clash, the analysis of its structural bases using the appropriate scientific tools hasn’t been practically used at present. This situation looks strange at least due to the fact that S. Huntington has expected fast emergence of such kind of studies. Pointing to usefulness of target abstraction in the form of a structural model, he wrote that «we need a map (model) that depicts and simplifies the reality at the same time in a way that works best for our aims» (Huntington, 1993). However solution of this methodological problem within the framework of traditional historical (Lanczov & Lanczova, 2017), geographical (Eremina, 2016) or cultural (Parzyan, 2016) approaches doesn’t result in creation of the required tools. One of the possible solutions can be use of interdisciplinary civilizational approach opening the way to integrated theory of civilizations (Danylova, 2016). Thus, in the present paper we offer to rely on the principle of interdisciplinarity and use inter-discipline tools time-tested in political studies for analysis and interpretation of world events.

Research Questions

First of all we offer a short presentation of the scientific interdisciplinary tools time-tested in studies of geopolitical conflicts that allow for a research on the structural level of description of the problem of civilizations clash. Then already within the framework of possibilities of the proposed tools the generalized model of the process of civilizations clash is described. Finally, basing on the structural analysis of the above-mentioned generalized model, a concept model of counteraction to civilizations clash on the basis of civilizations dialogue, that allows for identification of structural patterns of conflicts start and counteraction to them, is made.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research is analysis of structural aspects of the concept of the clash and dialogue of civilizations on the basis of interdisciplinary civilizational models.

Research Methods

Description or interpretation of civilizational interactions manifests itself simultaneously both in geospaces through the idea of territory, in social and cultural systems through national, religious and economic factors and in historical and political processes through various ideologemes. At the same time there can be observed a formation of some functional space with its structure characterizing certain political phenomenon (Rozin et al., 2019). In this case it is reasonable to use the methodology of cognitive analysis as scientific tools of structural analysis. Analytical advantages of cognitive analysis are connected with possibility of structural-dynamic system description of civilizational interactions with the help of the cause-and-effect (causal) diagram. These advantages of the methodology give a possibility to interpret and scale the object of research using the interdisciplinary approach. They have been time tested many times in quite diverse applied fields of knowledge, including use in studies of geopolitical conflicts (Gurba et al., 2018; Rozin et al., 2019). In the present paper it is proposed to make analysis of structural bases of the concept of civilizations clash using interdisciplinary methodology of cognitive modeling.


The concept model of the process of civilization clash by S. Huntington

Thus, according to S. Huntington (Huntington, 1993) in the modern «world the most broad-scale, important and significant conflicts will happen not between social classes, the poor and the rich, but between people of different cultural identification. Violence between countries and groups from different civilizations though implies the potential of escalation, as other countries and groups from these civilizations appeal to «kin countries» for help. One can say that now war is happening not between different political and social-economic systems, but between different cultures of civilizations. S. Huntington thinks that «the question «Whose side are you on?» has been replaced by the question of principal: «Who are you?». Through the cultural identity of the country we can get to the place of the country in the global policy, its friends and enemies, i.e. to its involvement in certain cultural civilization. Such differentiation according to the forecast by S. Huntington will lead to formation of the fault line between civilizations, natural generation of conflicts and when countries dominant in certain civilization join the conflict, it will escalate into clash of civilizations.

In Figure 1 there is a concept model of the process of civilizations clash by S. Huntington (Huntington, 1993) on the basis of the cognitive model.

The model is made as a contour-nodal structure of active cyclically generated conflict. (Rozin et al., 2019). The nuclear of the model integrates five basic factors into the closed contour:and. Change of value of any of these factors (increase or decrease) will be supported (strengthened or weakened) in the cycle of positive feedback. This is the «structure of cyclically generated conflict». According to S. Huntington (1993) growth as a result of differentiation of thefactor constantly leads to decrease of tolerance in relation to each other of the bearers of cultural identity of the clashed civilizations. This results in minus (-) of casual connection between the Culturalandfactors; On the other hand, decrease of thefactor leads to increase of the fault line (the factor) between the opposed civilizations. Further in the contour (see Figure 1) there goes increase of conflicts supported by positive links and their further move into the phase of conflict escalation.

Figure 1: Cognitive model of the process of civilizations clash by Huntington (1993)
Cognitive model of the process of civilizations clash by Huntington (1993)
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Thefactor is nodal, namely the crossing of the described contour and the external factorThereby the factor integrates i.e. it is the result of changes that happen both within the contour, and in the externalfactor; These countries dominate the corresponding civilizations and their involvement (for example, direct participation) in processes of conflict escalation should transfer conflicts into civilizations clashes. Therefore this leads to natural differentiation, division, opposition of cultural identities of the opposing civilizations. And it is not important where differentiation takes place – within the family, the country, the group of countries or the entire civilization, a new round of cross-cultural intolerance, rift increase and conflict escalation will happen further on.

Thus, the concept model of the process of civilizations clash by S. Huntington shows an extremely dangerous scenario with constant presence of through the integrating nodeThe model is aimed at realization of the apocalyptical variant of the escalation of civilizations conflicts. In such interpretation it became widely known outside the academic community and acquired specific popularity among policy makers, military planners etc. Thus, it is noted that «originally the concept by S. Huntington had not only an alarmist, but to a certain extent a provocative nature… In practice such forecast could have provoked increase of xenophobic moods towards representatives of other civilizational communities» (Lanczov & Lanczova, 2017). As an example confirming concept by S. Huntington, after 2001 many political experts made conclusions about the conflict between the West and Islam civilizations after the acts of terror.

Creation of the concept model of counteraction to civilizations clash on the basis of dialogue of civilizations

However the considered model (Figure 1) describes only one of possible options of geopolitical confrontation. Moreover, due to the positive feedback the model can also effectively lead to growth of cross-culture tolerance, smoothing of the rifts and decrease of conflicts. For this purpose it is enough just to eliminate the nodal connection (or to change its value into the opposite one) withfactor. This change will inevitably lead to suppression of conflict escalation. That is why it is so important in case of conflicts that have among other causes a civilizational aspect, to include negotiation processes between the countries dominant on the civilizational level. And it is even better to organize a systematic and on-going process of opinion exchange between politicians, diplomats, scientists, cultural luminaries representing countries belonging to different civilizations and build a solid foundation for the «dialogue of civilizations».

Starting positions for building the model of cross-civilizational dialogues and alliances are determined by growth of tendencies of opposition or confrontation towards the concept of civilizations clash by S. Huntington. Thus, Khatami (2001) formulates the task as prevention of crisis cross-civilizational situations in the world taking into account the global problems threatening mankind existence. As a mechanism of such prevention he points to the dialogue of civilizations. As described above the model of civilizations clash is a contour with positive feedback, which actually allowed for «whipping up» of conflict escalation by those who were interested in such sequence of events. It is assumed that solutions for counteraction to these tendencies should be looked for within the framework of the model of civilizations clash.

What structural solutions are possible in such situation? First of all it is necessary to find options to block or bypass the segment of the contour in the model, through which interested countries dominant for a certain civilization support or start the mode of conflict escalation. For example, by means of cutting off the segment with the help of chord-links. For this purpose it is necessary to choose factors belonging to the contour of civilizations clash (contour with positive feedback) to form a nodal crossings with the chord-link «bypassing» the segment of conflict escalation. Then to organize for the factor the contour of suppression of conflict escalation outbreak. As it is known (Gurba et al., 2018), such contour should bring into action a negative feedback, at the same time any increase of factors in the contour should lead to the counter reaction of the contour, i.e. to decrease. Finally it is necessary to foresee that the source of dialogue mode initialization is included in the model, for example, from an external source.

In Figure 2 there is an illustration of counteraction to development of civilizations clash through «bypassing» (cutting off, blocking) of the segment turning on the conflict escalation (factor), initiated by countries dominant in a certain civilization (factor).

Figure 2: Illustration of introduction of chord-links for «bypassing» of the segment of conflict escalation into the model of process of civilizations clash
Illustration of introduction of chord-links for «bypassing» of the segment of conflict escalation into the model of process of civilizations clash
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Two variants of chord-links in Figure 2 are shown by the dotted and dashed lines. Both variants cut the required segment off the contour, namely the segment with thefactor: the dotted chord-link connects the andfactors; the dashed one – theandfactors; Original nodal factor for both variants is The fact of conflicts themselves, especially, increase of their number or their scaling up is not only a possibility for conflicts escalation by the interested parties, but it serves as a signal for organization of a dialogue. Let us notice the possibility in principle both to register the number of conflicts and to monitor the conflict state. Therefore the choice of factor as an original one for bypassing with the help of a chord-link is quite evident in this model.

What conclusions lead to the choice of the factor belonging to the contour of civilizations clash and required for formation of nodal crossings with a chord-link «bypassing» the segment of conflict escalation. In the course of analysis one should estimate the structural, dynamic and semantic aspects of the model according to the necessary and sufficient attributes of the system model. The dotted chord-link cuts off the sector of the contour with one the most important factor –the dashed chord-link bypasses two factors - andThe first factor is highly dynamic; it has the possibility of quick response to arising or increase of conflicts, especially if there is a resource for conflict escalation from the dominant countries. The bypass can be expected to be successful only in case of high dynamics and considerable power provided by the chord-link. Therefore the chord-linkfactor →factor can be successful neither in dynamics, nor in power as compared to the segment of conflict escalation, determined by external resources of the dominant countries. Another situation can be seen in the variant with bypass by dashed chord-link in the nodal factor -In this case the cut off segment already includes such factors as EandThe last factor is determined semantically as dynamically extended, implying length of the interval that is prior to the recorded changes of the cultural identity. Hence dynamic reaction of the cut off segment of the contour as a whole will be much worse than response formed by the chord-linkfactor → Crossfactor.

Thus, analysis of peculiarities of organization of political process in the model of the process of civilizations clash has shown that for formation of a chord-link to cut off the segment of conflict escalation it is reasonable to choose thefactor and thefactor as nodal factors. Basing on the identified factors we are moving to creation of the concept model of counteraction to civilizations clash on the basis of the dialogue. As we have already noted earlier, contour of counteraction should bring into action negative feedback, i.e. «deny» a possible growth of conflict escalation. In Figure 3 there is a concept model of counteraction to civilizations clash on the basis of the dialogue of civilizations.

As it is seen in Figure 3 the main contour of civilizations clash is fully represented in this model and it is fully identical to the model in Figure 1.

Analyzing the model of civilizations clash earlier, we have already noted that the described model is basically capable to decrease all factors up to conflicts as efficiently due to positive feedback in the cycle. It is just necessary to determine the loading point of counteraction. In fact we should move to formation of the second contour of feedback that provides negative (stabilizing, blocking deviations) feedback. The loading point in the first contour of this second contour or in other words the point of contours crossing (nodal factor) is the above chosen factor –

Figure 3: Concept model of counteraction to civilizations clash on the basis of dialogue of civilizations
Concept model of counteraction to civilizations clash on the basis of dialogue of civilizations
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Simultaneously it belongs to two contours: the contour of civilizations clash and the contour of counteraction to the clash or dialogue of civilizations. Thus, the situation under study is represented in a more complicated way based on the composite concept model already at the initial phase. Integration of factor effects or counteraction of factor generates a complex response of the factor of contours crossing, node of simple contours crossing. Each simple contour includes a cause and effect chain with a common problem factor. Double-contour cognitive model is a model of cause integration and effect decomposition (see Figure 3).

The first contour or contour of civilizations clash includes five basic factors:and. The second contour or contour of civilizations dialogue includes four factors:andThree factors -belong to both contours.

We have already noted before that the model with positive feedback brings into action a very dangerous scenario of conflict development, but only in case of ongoing initialization of conflict escalation. Any break or decrease of such tendencies will automatically decrease the effect of actions by the dominant countries. Exactly for this purpose it is proposed to use a two-contour model with the overlap point of contours infactor. In the second contour there is a negative feedback, i.e. in case of any increase of features of factor the mechanisms offactor that block or decrease this flow are started. For activation of the dialogue mechanisms and support of the counteraction power,factor is introduced into the model.

Formation and functioning of an international organization allows for activation of the counteraction contour that already has the resources necessary for counteraction. In addition information from factor is not only used for attempts of conflict escalation (in the contour of civilizations clash), but also comes to the factor (in counteraction contour) to estimate the danger of conflicts, form the negotiation process and make the strategy and tactics of counteraction. Activity of the cyclically generated conflict stops, stabilizes, «freezes». Procedure of cyclicality is excluded.


Thus, the described model of counteraction to civilizations clash on the basis of civilizations dialogue is built on a one-contour initial model of civilizations clash and brings into action the principle of active response of the international community to the emerging conflicts within civilizational clash. The clear advantage of the proposed model is the possibility in principal of «freeze» (prevention of conflict escalation) reached due to additional highly dynamic contour of counteraction (with negative feedback) and presence of external (from international organizations) resource base of counteraction.

However there are some drawbacks in the model.

First of all it is the fact that concept of civilizations clash is acknowledged as a basic postulate of the model. Its presence is captured in the model with the help of the current (basic) contour. And taking into account the possibility in principle of ongoing interference of through the node in operation of the contour with positive feedback, there appears a high probability of conflict escalation byfrom a regional one to civilizational one.

The second aspect is related to the operation peculiarities of the contour with the negative feedback. The contour responds to the deviation that has already taken place, i.e. in our case the result of the conflict (changes in contour). The conflict doesn’t stop, only its development does.

The third aspect is related to the conflict features themselves: causes (economic, historical, ethnic, religious, political etc.), scale (cold, hot, military etc.), level of involvement of conflict parties (border, regional, global etc.) etc. In the counteraction contour when estimating the danger of the conflict, its causes, scale or level can be considered insufficient and a dialogue - premature. The time can be missed and in the meantime support fromfactor toand development of all elements of confrontation from distortion of cultural identity, decrease of cross-cultural tolerance up to increase of the rift of civilizations and escalation of conflicts or their move to military stage will follow.

Finally, the fourth drawback. It is related to the possibility of one of the dominant countries not to participate in operation of international organizations providing the dialogue or even block their work, at the same time supporting escalation of conflicts with resources. Moreover in this case such country claims its own interests as interests of civilization and represents itself as a «protector» of civilization.

One of the ways to solve the current deadlock situation is to form an international organization capable to accept the responsibility for civilizational dialogue (Sledzevskij, 2011). Exactly within the framework of such organization there appears a possibility to estimate arising conflicts in terms of their «belonging to civilization». Such position won’t permit to claim a usual regional conflict as «clash of civilizations» and using it as a cover to interfere in it for the purpose of somebody’s economic or other interests. Then models of usual conflicts start working and external participants of these conflicts are seen by the global community as aggressor states, with all ensuing peculiarities. Absolute majority of conflicts doesn’t obviously relate to so publicized clash of civilizations. That is why it is so important for the global community to build the corresponding model of responses to really dangerous regional conflicts and develop appropriate mechanisms of their solution.


The reported study was funded by Southern Federal University, project number VnGr-07/2020-05-FP.


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25 September 2021

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Economics, social trends, sustainability, modern society, behavioural sciences, education

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Rozin, M. D., Al-Hirz, K. M. J., Svechkarev, V. P., & Ozerov, A. A. (2021). Cognitive Analysis Of Civilizational Clashes And Dialogues. In I. V. Kovalev, A. A. Voroshilova, & A. S. Budagov (Eds.), Economic and Social Trends for Sustainability of Modern Society (ICEST-II 2021), vol 116. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2681-2689). European Publisher.