General Introduction
Pages 6

With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War in 1989, a new optimism arose and people believed it would be the beginning of a new, prosperous and peaceful period in world history. This optimism soon disappeared, and it became clear that contrary to popular belief, the world had become more complex than ever before. Problems that were once in the background of political consciousness were now right at the fore: for example, rivalry among neighbouring countries, regional wars and migration. Although contemporary problems are many and diverse, it seems that these current problems are increasingly framed in cultural and religious terms. With the events of 9/11 this new division has been further intensified, and the prospect of ‘clashing civilisations’ becomes more likely.