Building a Global Methodological Network via International
Conferences in the Global South
In most academic disciplines, knowledge production is based on producing empirical research using an established set of methodological approaches. So, knowing and adequately applying research methods is a prerequisite for gaining access to the global scientific system, including publication in renowned academic journals. However, global exposure to these methods is unequal, creating a knowledge divide.
Academics from the Global North generally have been exposed to basic and advanced social science methodology training. For the most part, they are also part of international networks that provide further opportunities to engage in academic discourse on emerging social science methodology. Importantly, they have ready access to research infrastructures such as archives and research data centres.
Most academics in the Global South do not share this access to institutional research infrastructure, resulting in a lack of training in basic and advanced methodological skills. Other barriers to entry are the location of conferences (at least pre-Corona) and high participation fees, which frequently hinder scholars from the Global South from taking part in international methodological discourses and debates, further deepening the knowledge divide. This also is a loss for scholars from the Global North, as not all established methods might be appropriate to answer research questions in all regions and cultural contexts.
This is increasingly problematic in a world where many of the most pressing global challenges are reflected in region-specific ways and can only be fully appreciated by studying a multitude of regions. To fully participate in finding solutions to these challenges, researchers in both world regions need to build field contacts with their colleagues and co-create research methods best suited for doing research in their particular regional and cultural contexts.
Under Action 1, SMUS is creating a platform that empowers scholars from the Global South and the Global North to build a global network of discourse on social science methodology.
We are organising a series of annual social-science-methodology conferences and research methodology courses that will offer meeting points for researchers to build the basis for future collaborations.
The first conference will be a virtual meeting hosted by the Department of Sociology at the University of Botswana (23.-25.09.2021) and will be followed by Brazil in 2022 and India in 2023. The conferences will offer SMUS network members the opportunity to:
- Organise sessions on methodological topics of their choice.
- Present their research to an international audience.
- Discuss current methodological problems with other scholars.
In order to make the conferences visible and attractive for scholars from both the Global North and the Global South, the conferences will be organised in cooperation with ISA RC33 and ESA RN 21 and be open to non-GCSMUS members who bring their own funding.
By integrating our emerging network into the existing international networks from the start, SMUS aims to ensure the network’s long-term sustainability.
Action Speakers for Action 1
Action 1 Outputs