Julian Go

Globalizing Sociology, Turning South. Perspectival Realism and the Southern Standpoint



Abstract: It is now recognized that social science needs to "globalize." The premise is that social science's concerns, categories and theories have been formulated, forged, and enacted of and for Anglo-European metropoles. But exactly how to overcome this problem of "metrocentrism" and truly globalize sociology remains a dilemma. While some suggest that tracking extensive connections or global "systems" can meet the challenge, a different set of solutions proposes to "indigenize" or draw upon "Southern" theory. Yet, this latter approach has faced charges of reverse essentialism, epistemic relativism, and its inability to theorize structural forces or institutions. The present essay proposes a "Southern standpoint" approach that extends the existing indigenous sociology/Southern theory movement but transcends its limitations. By grounding the approach in an epistemology and ontology of "perspectival realism" and post-foundationalist feminist standpoint theory, sociology can begin its theorizing and research from a Southern standpoint without resorting to essentialism, relativism, or microanalytics and thereby advance global sociology. The essay shows how the theoretical innovations of Frantz Fanon and Raúl Prebisch exemplify this Southern standpoint approach.


  • Social Theory
  • Indigenous Sociology
  • Southern Theory
  • Standpoint Theory
  • Perspectival Realism
  • Fanon
  • Dependency Theory


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