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Francis Fukuyama's seminal book The End of History and the Last Man became an icon of American and western intellectual self-confidence after the cold war. Since then, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the "war on terror" have happened. Fukuyama and his critics examine what remains of the argument.
An openDemocracy symposium on Francis Fukuyama's work features leading critics who question the arguments of the renowned author's new afterword to "The End of History and the Last Man".
Francis Fukuyama is caught between the triumphalism of Kant, Hegel, and Marx, and the despair of Nietzsche, Heidegger and Kojève, says Shadia Drury.
Francis Fukuyama's historicism fails to accommodate two contemporary political realities and in the process misunderstands history itself, says Roger Scruton.
The determinism of Francis Fukuyama's reheated modernisation theory does not fit the historical experience of the contemporary middle east, says Gavin Kitching.
Francis Fukuyama's claims of universalism are belied by his unawareness of wider debates about modern knowledge systems, argues Vinay Lal.
Francis Fukuyama's ascription to history of a plot and climax is implausible, but the grain of his work is freshly relevant to the post-9/11 world, says Stephen Holmes.
Francis Fukuyama's welcome revision of his argument leaves its homogenising, simplifying impulses untouched. Charles S Maier is unpersuaded.
The Muslim world is witnessing a gradual recasting of Islam in the framework of democracy, says Olivier Roy.
The American triumphalism of Francis Fukuyama's work is encoded in its key concepts, writes David Scott.
The Muslim world's encounter with modernity is a dislocating process that may prove fatal to theocrats and autocrats alike, says Saad Eddin Ibrahim.
The institutions of liberal democracy may have to change for its values to be sustained, writes Anthony Pagden.
Francis Fukuyama's defence of the universalism of western values and institutions is challenged by modern global political realities, says Talal Asad.
Francis Fukuyama's vision falls short of recognising how the deficits in liberal democracy are being generated from within, says Saskia Sassen.
Francis Fukuyama's renowned argument about universal history and liberal democracy remains a source of dispute. openDemocracy is publishing the author's new Afterword to "The End of History and the Last Man", followed by reflections from international thinkers on this seminal work. Here, Danny Postel introduces Fukuyama's essay and the symposium.
Francis Fukuyama's "end of history" thesis proposed in a 1989 essay, elaborated in a 1992 book was the most influential attempt to make sense of the post-cold-war world. In a new afterword to "The End of History and the Last Man", Fukuyama reflects on how his ideas have survived the tides of criticism and political change.