Accepted paper:

Beyond academic imperialism in public policy research: methodological perspectives from the South

Author:

Madalitso Phiri (University of South Africa (UNISA))

Paper short abstract:

The production and dissemination of knowledge in comparative public policy is defined by academic imperialism.The paper aims to go beyond the positivist methodology through novel thinking which shifts existing knowledge production asymmetries in the global social sciences.

Paper long abstract:

The production and dissemination of knowledge in public policy is defined by academic imperialism exemplified in the global division of labour; where the Global South exists as a 'zone of collecting data' and the Global North produces and reproduces itself as a 'zone of theory and knowing'. This paper aims to answer the following question: how does the production of knowledge in comparative public policy in the Global South lead towards the imagination of a more democratic social science? The question is answered by locating discursive debates within the sociology of knowledge. Data from 38 beneficiaries of South Africa's and Brazil's social assistance programmes suggest that local questions have global relevance in shaping methodological perspectives toward an authentic democratization of knowledge production in the Global Social Sciences. The paper aims to go beyond the positivist tradition in comparative public policy studies shifting the locus of enunciation by generating knowledge from the geography of the subaltern. Drawing on the works of Southern critical theorists, the paper argues that a novel approach of thinking with methodological perspectives is mandatory in shifting existing knowledge production asymmetries in the global social sciences. Four social artifacts were found to be instrumental toward a transcendence of academic imperialism, race and gender, language, geography and the researchers' positionality in the global division of labour.

panel E04
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