Southern Perspectives in Knowledge

As readers of this blog will know, one of my main concerns as an academic is to understand the global-North dominance of knowledge systems – and to help replace that with a more democratic, multi-centred, model of knowledge.
In July this year I gave a keynote address,Thirty-four degrees south: community, work and family in neocolonial perspective”, to the Fifth International Community, Work and Family Conference, held in Sydney.  The video of this talk is now available online, at:

In August I was involved in discussions of these issues in both north and south America.  At the University of Guadalajara in Mexico, and at the University of São Paulo in Brasil, colleagues invited me to speak to academic audiences on the theme of “Decolonizing Gender”.  

Here is a lively account of the session at USP:

At the public lecture, USP

Meanwhile, more publications about world social science have been coming through the pipeline.  My essay “Using Southern Theory: Decolonizing Social Thought in Theory, Research and Application” has just been published online in the journal Planning Theory (2 September 2013).   This discusses the intelligentsias of empires, and opens a discussion of the ways southern perspectives are already being put to use in applied fields of social science.   I think you can find it at: (Is that number greater than the number of molecules in the universe?)
An immensely detailed volume on the sociology discipline’s entanglements with empire, past and present, has just been published in the United States: George Steinmetz, ed., Sociology & Empire: The Imperial Entanglements of a Discipline. Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2013.  (I wrote the concluding chapter, “Understanding empire”, pp. 489-497.)

Almost at the same time, an admirable volume on the social and international contexts of social science has appeared from Sweden: Rickard Danell, Anna Larsson & Per Wisselgren, ed., Social Science in Context: Historical, Sociological, and Global Persepectives. Lund, Nordic Academic Press, 2013.  (I have a chapter in this, “Between periphery and metropole: towards a polycentric social science”, pp. 237-255.)

The debate is moving!
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