Shifting Discourses in Social Sciences: Nexus of Knowledge and Power

  •  Sivapalan Selvadurai    
  •  Er Ah Choy    
  •  Marlyna Maros    
  •  Kamarulnizam Abdullah    


Developing societies have often relied on Western or Eurocentric knowledge as a consequence of colonization process, intellectual imperialism, as well as experiences of the forces of modernization and its dependencies, as well as globalization rhetoric. The basic premise of this article is that all civilizations have potential sources of social science theorizing. This article explicates the general development of social sciences discourses in the West and response from the developing societies in particular. Specifically the article attempts to elaborate on the impasse in social science as it relates to domination of Eurocentric knowledge and the marginalization of local knowledge. In framing this article, insights on captive mind by Alatas and the notion of modern power by Foucault are utilized. Our approach to power and knowledge involves a multi-scalar analysis of the functioning of power relations that impinged on the social science discipline as experienced in the developing societies. Contestations from within the Western realm as well as developing societies appear to provide a remedy to the contemporary situation, but somewhat at a slow pace and operating in the margins. The relevance of adapting to local context and the institutional capacity for self-empowerment in localizing knowledge is a necessary path that developing societies should take.

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