Nation vs. Civilization? The Rise of „Civilizational States”

Civic Review· VOL 17. Special Issue, 2021, 241–250., DOI: 10.24307/psz.2021.0017

Prof. Dr. Gergely Egedy, university professor, DSc, National University of Public Service (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


After the end of the Cold War, the triumphant West came to the conclusion that the values which it represented were of universal relevance, and this in turn would provide the basis for its long-term hegemony. However, this assumption has been challenged – or even disproven by the spectacular rise of the so-called „civilizational states”, i.e., states that define themselves not as nation-states but as civilizations, trying to revive the traditions of their erstwhile empires. This study first wishes to explore the main characteristics of the most important civilizational states, China, Russia, India and Turkey, and then it points out that in contrast to these self-conscious countries the civilization of the West has to cope with serious internal problems threatening its existence. The conclusion of the author is that the West has no other choice than to renounce its claims on universalism and at the same time defend by all means its own unique cultural legacy.

Keywords: the hegemony of the West, civilization state, geopolitics, cancel culture