Session 3

A3 Decolonizing Social Science Methodology and the Global South – Methods from, by and/or for the Global South

Global knowledge production privileges the West as the sole producers of universal knowledge and excludes other knowledge systems. In this vein, social science methodology has been rooted in euro-centric epistemology, ontology and axiology. However, scholars have come to the realization that there are various ways of knowing and western science is just one of such ways. This realization has propelled the calls for the decolonization of global knowledge both from the Global South and North. Scholars argue that the Global South needs epistemologies and pedagogies that are relevant to solving their practical local problems, which western epistemologies have not sufficiently addressed. The calls for decolonization however, seems to echo loudest and is driven by scholars in the global North. This poses a problem, as the majority of these scholars do not have the ‘lived’ experience of colonization and indigenous knowledge practice. Decolonizing social science methodology should be driven by scholars from the Global South whose ‘lived’ experience in post-colonial states and indigenous knowledge systems equip them to better contextualize the issues involved in knowledge decolonization. This session welcomes papers that interrogate some of the issues involved in the decolonization of social science methodology. Why is the Global South lagging behind in the drive for decolonization of knowledge? How can indigenous knowledge systems form the bedrock of developing epistemologies that can address specific developmental challenges of the Global South, such as poor governance, corruption, lack of citizens’ engagement, high fertility, gender inequality, etc. What are the challenges of developing social science methodology from indigenous knowledge systems? How does the asymmetry power relations between the Global South and North in a globalized world affect the development of new methods for the Global South? These and other issues involved in decolonizing social science methodology in the Global South form the focus of this session.