Can intercultural theory account for the events of September 11th 2001?
Does it offer any guidelines for responses to those events?
It was the day "the world changed' as newspapers across the globe echoed. The September 11th tragedy, as it is commonly referred to, shook the political foundations of America, the previously so-called "infallible' nation and the whole world felt its ramifications, stood-up and took notice that any Super Power could prove vulnerable when faced with aggressive, cold-blooded terrorism.
In this event, American Airlines Boeing 767 and United Airlines Boeing 767, both en route from Boston to Los Angeles, were hijacked and flown only minutes apart into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center, causing its eventual collapse. Shortly afterwards, another plane crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, as the attempts to hit the chosen targets " the White House and Camp David, were thwarted by passengers. The scale of the disaster could be viewed for miles, as smoke poured over the Manhattan skyline which once symbolized strength and hundreds of firefighters perished together with other innocent civilians, the total number now estimated at about 5 or 6 thousand.
It is important to consider, not only intercultural theory, when considering the reason for such a clash between so-called "secular civilization' and "fanatical' religious fundamentalism, but also appreciate the psychological, anthropological, political and economic angles in this tangled web.
Although there is age-old debate amongst theorists as to what the term "culture' actually means, it is important to establish a general thread of association between them for the purpose of this essay, to illustrate whether cultural differences between the two groups involved, namely the Islamic extremists of the East and the United States in the West, could have amounted to such an event.
It is a known fact that over the last two centuries there has been a burgeoning interest in the concept of culture, which has been described in a multitude of different ways, which are often interlinked. To establish whether the events of September 11th can be attributed to intercultural theory, it is important to establish what exactly is meant by the term "culture'.
Steven Hill describes how anthropologists use the term "culture' as "a collective noun for the symbolic and learned, non-biological aspects of human society', including language, custom and convention by which human behavior can be distinguished from other primates.
Another interesting angle has been adopted by sociologists who view that culture can be contrasted with structure. For some, societies consist of a framework of social institutions and culture simply aids to provide a "kind of social cement for keeping the structure intact.'
Through looking at historical links, one can see how Marxist sociologists view culture as the realm of beliefs; ideas and...