Sociology through the ‘South’ prism

Authored by: Sujata Patel

Routledge Handbook of South–South Relations

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138652002
eBook ISBN: 9781315624495
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter maps and assesses interventions made by scholars on the issues discussed by Raewyn Connell in her book Southern Theory: The Global Dynamics of Knowledge in Social Science. It explores the three pathways through which the debate on Southern theory has developed since its publication in 2007: the decolonial perspective, the postcolonial position and the indigenous/endogenous and autonomous position. The chapter argues that it is possible to identify two fault lines in these deliberations. The first fault line is between scholars who affirm a need for incorporating the voices of the subaltern (the decolonialists) and those who wish to focus on the academy production of knowledge. The goal of the former is to create alternate universal theories, concepts and practices moored in a non-Eurocentric episteme. The second fault line relates to those who focus their gaze on the academic production of knowledge. The first group, the postcolonialists, orient their critique and interventions to re-conceptualise the perspectives within Northern academy. The second group orient their gaze on Southern scholarship formulated in their regions and replace these with contextually relevant sociology in their regions. The chapter asks how global theories that are relevant, inclusive, pluralistic and diverse can be constituted in this context.

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