Samuel Huntington : Clash of civilisation author dies


Samuel Huntington died today. I am posting details of his contribution to sociology.

US political scientist Samuel Huntington dies
28 Dec 2008

NEW YORK: Influential US political scientist Samuel Huntington, author of “The Clash of Civilizations” and a professor at Harvard University, has died at the age of 81, the university announced on its website on Saturday.

Huntington, who retired from teaching in 2007 after 58 years at Harvard, died on December 24 in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, the university said. It did not give the cause of his death.

He was co-author or editor of 17 books, mostly on US government, democratization, military politics, civil-military relations and political development.

Huntington was perhaps best known for believing that in a post-Cold War world violent conflict would come from cultural and religious differences, and not ideological differences between nation states.

This view was fully explained in the 1996 book “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order,” which has been translated into 39 languages.

Huntington was “one of the giants of American intellectual life of the last half century,” said one of his colleagues, Robert Putnam at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Another colleague, Harvard professor Stephen Rosen, said Huntington “combined a fierce loyalty to his principles and friends with a happy eagerness to be confronted with sharp opposition to his own views.”

Huntington graduated from Yale College at 18 and was teaching at Harvard by age 23, according to the university website.

A life-long Democrat, he served as foreign policy adviser to Hubert Humphrey in his failed 1968 presidential campaign, and served in the White House under president Jimmy Carter in the National Security Council in 1977 and 1978.

Huntington was born in New York city on April 18, 1927 into a writer’s pedigree; his father Richard was an editor and publisher, and his mother Dorothy Sanborn Phillips was a short-story author.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale in 1946, served in the US Army, then earned a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1948. He obtained his doctorate in 1951 from Harvard in 1951, where the website said he had taught nearly without a break since 1950.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Nancy Arkelyan Huntington, and by two grown sons.

Huntington’s books include “The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations” (1957); “Political Order in Changing Societies” (1968); “The Crisis of Democracy: On the Governability of Democracies” (1976); “The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century” (1991); and “Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity (2004).”

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