Culturalism is an approach that interprets civilizations within the religious, historical, and traditional boundaries. In this approach, it is argued that the cultural accumulations that emerged from and developed in the West are, in principle, unique to the Western civilization, and it is suggested that peripheral countries return to their own cultures in the face of imperialism. However, throughout history, civilizations have interacted with each other independently of religious and cultural boundaries and have created common cultural accumulations. Secularism, democracy, rule of law, and human rights are some of the clearest examples of these universal values of civilization. Moreover, culturalist criticism tends to overlook the capitalism and the economic-class contradictions between the center-periphery countries and bases its argument on the assumption that the main contradiction is about culture and religion. Therefore, although culturalist theories claim to oppose imperialism, they eventually reconciled with imperialism. This was proved by the failure of modernization and socialism in Asia and Africa starting from the 20th century. The importance of Samir Amin and NiyaziBerkes lies in that they made the first and most comprehensive criticisms of the culturalist approach in social sciences. Another reason for examining their views together in this study was that both of them, from Egypt and Turkey, are known to be the modernization theorists of the peripheral countries. Amin and Berkes defined the concept of civilization without referring to the religious and cultural boundaries. This is the most obvious common feature in their modernization approaches. The point where they differ is that Samir Amin draws attention to the real contradiction between the central and peripheral countries and thinks that this contradiction is about the capitalist world system. On the other hand, like Amin, NiyaziBerkes also criticizes the reconciliation of tradition and modernity, but does not dwell on the variables such as capitalism and capitalist world system. The purpose of this study is to keep the criticisms of the culturalist approach alive based on the theoretical approaches of Samir Amin and NiyaziBerkes.
Keywords: Turkish sociology, Socialism, Modernization, Imperialism, Culturalism, Historical Materialism, Capitalist World System