There is no clash of civilisations but a crisis of cultures – and the key to healing them is youth

Scott Atran in The Guardian:

ScreenHunter_2800 Aug. 23 18.34The values of liberal and open democracy increasingly appear to be losing ground around the world to those of narrow, xenophobic ethno-nationalisms and radical Islam. This is not a “clash of civilisations”, but a collapse of communities, for ethno-nationalist violent extremism and transnational jihadi terrorism represent not the resurgence of traditional cultures, but their unravelling.

This is the dark side of globalisation. The western nation-state and relatively open markets that dominate the global political and economic order have largely supplanted age-old forms of governance and social life. People across the planet have been transformed into competitive players seeking fulfilment through material accumulation and its symbols. But the forced participation and gamble in the rush of market-driven change often fails, especially among communities that have had little time to adapt. When it does, redemptive violence is prone to erupt.

The quest for elimination of uncertainty, coupled with what social psychologist Arie Kruglanski deems “the search for significance”, are the personal sentiments most readily elicited in my research team’s interviews with violent jihadists and militant supporters of populist ethno-nationalist movements.

More here.