Despite widespread condemnations of ‘methodological nationalism’, calls for a more ‘global sociology’, and vibrant debates about decolonising the university, sociology cannot sustain the pretence that the ‘global North’ has been decentred. Indeed, sociology, even with its interdisciplinary posturing, remains dominated by theories and methodologies which emerge from and refer to the (over)developed world. In this context, what are some of the challenges for scholars working in and on the ‘global South’? What are some of the difficulties for engagement with the sociological mainstream, both intellectually and institutionally? What might reflexive accounts from scholars who are doing sociology outside the global North teach us about the challenges and possibilities of developing a substantively global sociology?
In a recent piece called The Gentrification of African Studies, Haythem Guesmi explains that ‘Africa-based academics face insurmountable difficulties to attend important African studies conferences, which are often held in western capitals of New York, London, or Berlin. These challenges include issues of air travel funding and registration fees, the dreadful process of visa application, and the rise of hostile immigration policies’. Guesmi argues that Africanist scholars living in the global north thereby ‘shape the trajectory of African studies as a result of their strong institutional support and abundance of available funding’. Clearly, Guesmi has identified a wider issue that relates to the dominance (perhaps imperialism?) of the Euro-American academy; pursuing a genuinely global or decolonised sociology demands that take these kinds of arguments seriously. Indeed, the reflections of sociologists working outside the global North can serve as instruction for all of us struggling to understand, critique and improve our discipline.
This special section of The Sociological Review’s website seeks short blog posts reflecting on the challenges of doing sociology outside the global North. These should be reflective accounts, and might respond to questions such as:
- What are some of the institutional barriers to doing sociology and gaining recognition outside Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand?
- What are your experiences of engaging with academics and institutions in the ‘global north’, and how have these experiences impacted your work?
- What difficulties have you faced applying dominant theoretical and conceptual paradigms to areas and topics outside the global north?
- If not sociology, which disciplines dominate research in your given area or topic, and how might sociological approaches generate new insights and questions?
- How do your own experiences shed light on the limitations of calls for a global, decolonised sociology?
- How do studies on and from the ‘global South’ complicate the scale at which sociologists conceptualise ‘private troubles’ and ‘public issues’?
- What do your own experiences and reflections reveal about postcoloniality, neo-colonialism, imperialism and racism?
Please read our guidelines before submitting. Posts should be between 1000 and 1500 words, submitted in the first instance to our Digital Engagement Fellow at email@example.com. The special section is edited by Irmak Karademir Hazir and Luke de Noronh. The deadline for submissions is March 31st.