The terms universal civilization and world civilization are linked to a perception of the effects of globalization. They refer to the global sharing of ways, values, practices, beliefs, and even directions.
Some consider that globalization makes us witness the emergence of what Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul called a “universal civilization”. Václav Havel writes: According to the defenders of this point of view, the changes that globalization brings lead us to think differently about issues related to culture or civilization. They argue that the development of information and knowledge technologies and technologies in general, trade development, migration or tourism, would be the basis of this world civilization. CS. Naipaul and Fouad Ajami are the most fervent defenders.
The extension of communications, and parallel to the market economy, on a world scale is accompanied by a diffusion of norms, social practices and values. Cultural changes leading to acculturation or cultural hybridization suggest that a trend towards cultural or civilizational unification is emerging.
According to the approaches, the universal civilization is considered: at the level of the contents: The sport, practiced of all is the center of this world unification through various events like the Olympic Games or the soccer world cup.
Universal civilization could be translated in particular by institutional globalization
Expressions of universal civilization, even of world civilization, are objects of debate.
Non-partisans or detractors of this concept see presuppositions. For Samuel Huntington, after the fall of the communist world, the world is more than ever multipolar and multicivilizational. It would be impossible to talk about an emerging world civilization. For him, . In the same sense, according to Paul Valadier,. For these opponents, the interdependence between humans (migration, development of trade, …) is not synonymous with a universal civilization, they even think that more interdependence allows to pay more attention to its civilizational identity. They evoke a sociological theory of globalization that leads to the same conclusion. Even Westernization does not support, according to them, the idea of universal civilization, since:
Critics go further, this time on the level of feasibility. By focusing on a strict definition of what a civilization is, they consider this vision as a kind of utopia. For them, to speak of a world civilization would mean to pray the same God (to have the same religion) and to speak in the same way (to have the same language). However, current statistical data are far from supporting this probability. It seems that this thesis makes some confusion between civilization and culture, systematically discarding the concept of multicultural civilization.