Postcolonial Sociology: An Oxymoron or a Border Crossing?

Friday, July 18, 2014: 6:50 PM
Room: 313+314
Distributed Paper
Nacira GUÉNIF-SOUILAMAS , University Paris 8, France
Since its inception, the division established in the course of securing the disciplinary borders of the sociology field between the populations to be studied by sociologists and those who fell in the “other” group to be studied by anthropologists was taken for granted. Sociologists remained oblivious to the political conditions of possibility of the institutional recognition of their profession that included the labor division between sociology and anthropology. Now that the descendants of those other populations have become the new citizens of former empires such as France and UK, or Japan, the question of the repatriation in the sociological repertoire of notions such as de/colonization, indigeneity, autochthony, and the coloniality of power and social relations, in terms of gender, race and ethnicity is to be investigated anew. If such endeavor is upheld in various corners of the global discipline sociology has become, in places like France, where a main sociological contribution was made, it remains a contentious topic. From this situated sociological universalism, post/colonial studies remain the outside of the sociological field. Whether one thinks of courses taught in an interdisciplinary perspective or of research funding moving beyond the pale of deliverables, coloniality and its contemporary expressions are unthinkable in a still ethnocentric sociology climate. Acknowledging that the colonial is indeed the past and the outside of sociologized societies and sociological routines, but also their present, may be a first step towards a postcolonial sociology in search of its academic locations and professional habitations. Mapping such an ongoing hi/story may help include, or not, France in a global dialogical field aiming at understanding enduring inequality processes.