Globalization is full of disjunctures and contradictions. Paradoxically, it is, on the one hand, a generalizing process and, on the other hand, associated with encounters and conflicts that accentuate, and even generate, multiplicities of difference. This article tracks developments in a broad set of approaches that have over the last few decades sought to deepen our understanding of these encounters and differences. These approaches can be collated under the notion of “pluriversal theory.” The first broad expression of this theoretical-activist movement, “pluriversal theory 1.0,” includes orientalism studies, southern theory, and the multiple modernities approach. This group of interventions suggests rightly that our gaze needs to shift from a singular Eurocentric viewpoint, but it is unable to account for the epistemological and ontological contestations that both ground the encounters and provide a means of acting otherwise. Pluriversal theory 2.0 moves to decenter both Europe and the global modernization process, while treating the disjunctures of global history as involving epistemological ruptures. Modern forms of knowing are treated as themselves colonizing. The Global South is described as not just a geographical or imperially generated place of difference but as region of diverse “ways of knowing.” Here, the nature of knowledge becomes analytically important, as does using comparative analysis of ways of knowing. This article builds upon the strengths of these earlier contributions to argue for what might be called pluriversal theory 3.0. This entails recognizing that “knowing” is only one of the many categories of being, and that disjunctures of ontological difference—“ways of being” or ontological formations in tension—are central to understanding processes of power and domination in our globalizing world.

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