Southern Theory: Social Science and the Global Dynamics of Knowledge

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Overview

Mainstream social science pictures the world as understood by the educated and affluent in Europe and North America. From Weber and Keynes to Friedman and Foucault, theorists from the global North dominate the imagination of social scientists, and the reading lists of students, all over the world. For most of modern history, the majority world has served social science only as a data mine.

Yet the global South does produce knowledge and understanding of society. Through vivid accounts of critics and theorists, Raewyn Connell shows how social theory from the world periphery has power and relevance for understanding our changing world-from al-Afghani at the dawn of modern social science, to Raul Prebisch in industrialising Latin America, Ali Shariati in revolutionary Iran, Paulin Hountondji in post-colonial Benin, Veena Das and Ashis Nandy in contemporary India, and many others.

With clarity and verve, Southern Theory introduces readers to texts, ideas and debates that have emerged from Australia's Indigenous people, from Africa, Latin America, and south and south-west Asia. It deals with modernisation, gender, race, class, cultural domination, neoliberalism, violence, trade, religion, identity, land, and the structure of knowledge itself.

Southern Theory shows how this tremendous resource has been disregarded by mainstream social science. It explores the challenges of doing theory in the periphery, and considers the role Southern perspectives should have in a globally connected system of knowledge. Southern Theory draws on sociology, anthropology, history, psychology, economics, philosophy and cultural studies, with wide-ranging implications for social science in the 21stcentury.

About the Author:
Raewyn Connell is University Professor at the University of Sydney

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Awarded the Stephen Crook Memorial Prize for Best Authored Book in Australian Sociology 2005-2008

"Profoundly generative ... an original book, elegantly written and covering a vast gamut of topics."
British Journal of Sociology of Education

"It weaves an awe-inspiring command of knowledge into a devastating critique of metropolitan social thought ... no ordinary academic text ... widely accessible to an intelligent readership spanning an array of disciplines."
Journal of Sociology

"A multifaceted argument. It narrates an alternative 'origin story' for sociology and, by implication, anthropology."
Australian Humanities Review

"I highly recommend Southern Theory for every social scientist."
Transnational Social Review

"Raewyn Connell makes a strong claim to 'propose a new path for social theory that will help social science to serve democratic purposes on a world scale' ... This book offers unequivocal points of engagement: what is the text(ure) and mess(age) of the intellectual traditions that inform what is taught in universities in anglo/european/northamerican centres of learning? It stimulated me to recognize the elisions and gaps in the knowledge that I take for granted, and to think differently about the global constructions of sociological knowledge."
New Zealand Geographer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745642482
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/11/2008
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Raewyn Connell is University Chair at the University of Sydney.

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Table of Contents

Introduction     vii
Acknowledgments     xv
Northern theory     1
Empire and the creation of a social science     3
Modern general theory and its hidden assumptions     27
Imagining globalisation     49
Looking south     69
The discovery of Australia     71
Southern theory     87
Indigenous knowledge and African Renaissance     89
Islam and Western dominance     111
Dependency, autonomy and culture     139
Power, violence and the pain of colonialism     165
Antipodean reflections     193
The silence of the land     195
Social science on a world scale     211
References     233
Index     263
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