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Southern Theory: Social Science And The Global Dynamics Of Knowledge

ISBN: 978-0-7456-4249-9
272 pages
November 2007, Polity
Southern Theory: Social Science And The Global Dynamics Of Knowledge (0745642497) cover image
In Southern Theory Raewyn Connell presents the case for a new ‘world social science' - one that is inclusive of many voices - by arguing for a more democratic global recognition of social theory from societies outside the dominant European and North American metropole.

Intellectual production of the majority ‘southern' world does in fact include theory, though its contribution is often marginalised and intellectually discredited by the metropole. Connell shows how social theory about the modern world from peripheral societies is equal in intellectual rigour and is often of greater political relevance to our changing world.

Beginning with an examination of the hidden assumptions of modern general theory, Southern Theory looks to the ‘southern' social experience and the theories that have emerged from Australia, Indigenous peoples, Latin America, India, Africa, Islam and other post-colonial societies, as sources of important and vital contributions to world social science. These myriad theories offer valuable perspectives so crucial to the application of social theory in the contemporary world, having the power to transform the influence of the metropolitan hegemony on social thought by mutual regard and interaction.

Southern Theory is a major new work in social theory, drawing on anthropology, history, psychology, philosophy, economics and cultural studies, with wide-ranging implications for the social sciences in the 21st century.

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Introduction.

Acknowledgments.

Part I: Northern Theory.

Empire and the creation of a social science.

Modern general theory and its hidden assumptions.

Imagining globalisation.

Part II: Looking South.

The discovery of Australia.

Part III: Southern Theory.

Indigenous knowledge and African Renaissance.

Islam and Western dominance.

Dependency, autonomy and culture.

Power, violence and the pain of colonialism.

Part IV: Antipodean Reflections.

The silence of the land.

Social science on a world scale.

References.

Index

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Raewyn Connell is University Chair at the University of Sydney.
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  • a pathbreaking new work in social theory by one of the world’s leading thinkers in this area

  • seeks to unsettle the metropolitan social theories of the North by calling unrelenting attention to their unexceptional ignorance and willful disregard of what Connell calls “southern theory”

  • considers theories that have emerged from Australia, indigenous peoples, Latin America, India, Africa, Islam and other post-colonial societies, as sources of important and vital contributions to world social science

  • likely to stimulate a firestorm of debate and rethinking in social theory among social theorists

  • concise, pungent, beautifully written, and brilliantly original, this book will be a mustread for all those studying and writing about social theory
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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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