Eurocentrism and the Contribution of Ibn Khaldun to the Growth of Sociology

  •  Aboobacker Rameez    


It is generally believed that sociology originated in Europe in the 19th century and the paternity of the discipline is commonly attributed to the French sociologist August Comte. However, reflections of a sociological nature were observed and found in the work of 14th century North African historian and philosopher Ibn Khaldun. However, such contribution of Ibn Khaldun is little acknowledged by European scholars in their works. Therefore, this paper attempts to examine how Eurocentrism is embedded in the writing of the European scholars and unpacks the contribution of Ibn Khaldun in the growth of Sociology. In the first part of essay, I argue that the perspective of European scholars are mainly Eurocentric and parochial in their accounts on culture, language and other aspects of non-European society. In the second part of the essay, I argue Ibn Khaldun’s contribution to the field of sociology is largely ignored, though his contributions dealt with the society and human character, political organization and government, differences between rural and urban populations, kinship, social solidarity, and the interplay between economic conditions and social organizations. Nevertheless, I argue that though Ibn Khaldun’s ideas have hugely impressed some of European thinkers in the 19th century prompting them to regard him as the progenitor of sociology, question remains as to how his ideas and theories have been appropriated by contemporary social scientists in their works.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.