Lecturer discusses sources of disputes
By MIKE DELAROSA
Cultural and civilizational differences will replace political and ideological ones as a source of conflict in the coming century, said Stephanie Lawson, a professor of international relations at the University of East Anglia.
Lawson discussed the consequences of local culture compared to a more global culture Tuesday in her lecture "A New Age for World Politics?"
"[In the future, the] principle source of conflict will be cultural," Lawson said. She particularly emphasized the culture of the many Asian-Pacific countries under the influence of Western, democratic culture.
"Due to the fact that democracy is generally based on ideas of the west, they do not translate well into Asian countries," Lawson said. She offered Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines and Japan as countries who have adopted democracy despite their cultural and natural tendencies.
Lawson also discussed the definition of culture and its varying subcategories, such as world culture and state culture.
"Culture is something loose," she said. "It's about change and if it's not moving it's dead."
After defining culture, Lawson challenged the more specific nature of the term.
"Is there one culture in a culture or multiple interpretations?" she asked. "Is the idea of culture used to exploit? To what extent can a culture be claimed?"
She also discussed moments in the course of the century that have shaped world politics, especially the Cold War.
1999 marks the 10 year anniversary of the fall of communism. With this landmark came a certain amount of relieved tension within the West, giving democracy a boost world-wide. Democracy was once again celebrated with the coming of Operation Desert Storm. "Removal of Iraq replaced euphoria from the end of the cold war," Lawson said.
Stephanie Lawson has written on the politics in the South Pacific region. Her research focuses on the politics of culture and democratization in Southeast Asia.
All News Stories for Wednesday, November 17, 1999