Attempts at Indigenizing Sociology: Achievements and Impediments

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 08:54
Oral Presentation
Mohammad Hossein PANAHI, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Iran
Modern social sciences, including sociology, developed in Western Europe and later in North America, and from there it disseminated to the rest of the world. This process created a hierarchical world social science system with its center and periphery. The critiques of this worldwide unequal division of scientific labor called for the development of independent/ indigenous sociology/ sociologies relevant to the conditions of ‘southern’ regions and nations. The discourse of indigenization of sociology started in the late 1970s. Since then this discourse/ movement has spread throughout the world, particularly in the developing ‘south’. Many papers and books have been written, and some attempts have been made in order to indigenize sociology and create autonomous sociologies in the developing countries. After more than three decades of such efforts, it is worthwhile to study and evaluate achievements, impediments and prospects of this scientific process. In this paper, after discussing various levels of indigenization of sociology, including the subject of investigation, conceptualization, theoretical framing, methodology, data analysis and interpretation, we consider the epistemological, social scientific and political background of the indigenization discourse and the process of its development and spread throughout the non-western/ peripheral countries. Believing in the necessity of indigenization and development of independent sociologies, the proponents of this idea have attempted to indigenize sociology in their countries or regions. Based on the studies in this field, the paper then evaluates the achievements, impediments and prospects of these efforts. Finally, supporting the idea of and the necessity for indigenization of sociology and the possibility of multiple sociologies, the paper proposes strategies to overcome some of these impediments.