This paper addresses two main topics. First, the ways in and extent to which scholars from, or originated from, the ‘Global South’ have avoided succumbing to the appeal of dominant ‘Western’ perspectives when practising their vocation as social scientists. Second, the price paid for lack of appropriate knowledge when social scientists adopt dominant paradigms in studying ‘undisciplined’ societies, i.e. the ones that do not ‘correspond’ to dominant ideal types. Approaches based on the Weberian paradigm will be specifically considered in this regard. Jacques Kabbanji concedes that there has indeed been a shift from the colonial era, which produced the Orientalism that Edward Said and others so effectively exposed as subjective and instrumental to Western hegemony. Yet, he argues, in the post-colonial era the way in which many Arab scholars have responded to the Orientalist critique, together with other critiques of mainstream social science by scholars from the Global South, has ended up endorsing a newly hegemonic social science that actually reinvents ‘Arab exceptionalism’. This poses a problem for would-be analysts of the Arab revolts that began in 2010.
The ‘internationalization’ of social sciences as an ‘obstacle’ to understanding the ongoing Arab revolts†
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Jacques E. Kabbanji; The ‘internationalization’ of social sciences as an ‘obstacle’ to understanding the ongoing Arab revolts. Contemporary Arab Affairs 1 January 2014; 7 (1): 115–124. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/17550912.2014.881013
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