Today we look at sexuality education. In some countries, scholars who advocate for a secular worldview have constructed a progressive sexuality education that embraces science at the exclusion of religion.

With me is Mary Lou Rasmussen. In her monograph, Progressive Sexuality Education: The Conceits of Secularism (Routledge, 2015), which was just released in paperback, Mary Lou carefully explores how progressive scholarship and practice might get in the way of meaningful conversations with students, teachers, and peers who think differently about the field of sexuality education.

Mary Lou Rasmussen is a professor at the School of Sociology at The Australian National University. She is co-editor, with Louisa Allen, of the Handbook of Sexuality Education which will be published in October.

Citation: Rasmussen, Mary Lou, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 87, podcast audio, September 18, 2017.

Transcript, Translations, Resources:

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We hear about educational privatization a lot these days. My Twitter feed is filled with countless stories about how Betsy DeVos is going to privatize education in America or how Bridge International has privatized education in some African countries. Even the first three episodes of FreshEd way back in 2015 looked at how privatization has gone global.

But do you really know how it’s happening, how privatization as an educational policy is moving around the world? And what effect is it having on governments?

The process of national and local governments enacting policies that advance private interests in education is rather complex and often opaque to the general public. My guest today, Stephen Ball, has written a series of books looking at educational privatization. In his latest book,, co-written with Caroline Junemann and Diego Santori, he explores through network ethnography the evolution of the global education policy community that is advancing privatization.

Stephen Ball is a Distinguished Service Professor at the Institute of Education, University College London.

Citation: Ball, Stephen, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 78, podcast audio, June 19, 2017.

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A group of Yale graduate students are protesting their labor conditions as teachers. They are demanding the administration recognize them as a union and negotiate their contract as full employees of the university. After all, graduate students teach many undergraduate classes.

But the administration is stalling, waiting for Donald Trump to appoint an anti-union National Labor Relations Board that, they hope, will throw out the union’s right to exist.

My guest today is Jennifer Klein, a professor of history at Yale University who has followed the unionization efforts closely. She’s written a recent New York Times op-ed detailing the events at Yale.

The fight over graduate student’s right to unionize at Yale is a microcosm of the reliance on precarious work across the American higher education system.

You can find the solidarity statement in support of the graduate students here.

On May 22, Local 33, the union representing the Yale graduate students, protested during the Yale commencement.

Have you ever visited schools like Eton College in the United Kingdom, St. Albans in the United States, or Geelong Grammar School in Australia? Maybe you were among the lucky few to have attended one. These schools are primarily reserved for children from the most privileged families, members of the 1 percent, as we would say today. The schools are steeped in tradition, covered in oak and ivy, and cost a small fortune to attend. The fees at St. Albans, for instance, run as high as $58,000 USD. For that price, it’s no wonder that these schools offer some of the best education money can buy and have produced some notable graduates. For instance, 19 prime ministers from the UK attended Eaton. Talk about a small circle!

These schools, which are found worldwide, produce and sustain social class and have had to adapt to changing global and local circumstances over the decades. Many started as all boy’s schools but have since become co-educational. Others were reserved for national elites to produce competent colonial administrators but have since turned their attend to the growing market of international students.

My guest today, Debbie Epstein, has been part of a research team exploring elite schools in former British colonies, from Australia to Barbados and Hong Kong to India. The team, comprised of Jane Kenway, Johannah Fahey, Debbie Epstein, Aaron Koh, Cameron McCarthy, and Fazal Rizvi, have recently co-written a book on their findings entitled “Class Choreographies: Elite schools and globalization.” Debbie, a Professor of Cultural Studies in Education at the University of a Roehampton, joined me to talk about some of the major themes explored in the book.

I should mention, for full disclosure, that this project holds a special place in my heart. I met my future wife, Johannah Fahey, while she was collecting data for this project while in Hong Kong. Please excuse my biased opinion about this excellent research!

If you would like to order the book, the authors have provided FreshEd listeners with a 30% discount. Don’t wait: the offer ends July 31!


How can we think about inequality and education? My guest today, Mario Novelli, dives into the subject by looking at the role of schools in the production of inequality.

Since 2010, Mario has researched issues related to the role of education in peace building processes, working with UNICEF on a series of projects.

In our conversation, Mario not only details how modernity, capitalism, and colonialism combine to create systems of inequality inside school systems but also publicly struggles with his role in the production of inequality through his work in international educational development.

Mario Novelli is Professor of the Political Economy of Education and Director of the Centre for International Education (CIE) at the University of Sussex. His latest article discussed in this podcast can be found in the most recent issue of the British Journal of the Sociology of Education.

Citation: Novelli, Mario, Interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 41, September 12, 2016.

Will Brehm:  1:58
Mario Novelli, welcome to Fresh Ed.

Mario Novelli:  2:01
Thanks very much for having me.

Will Brehm:  2:03
The British Journal of Sociology of Education has put out a special issue on the work of the French economist Thomas Piketty, who wrote a pretty famous book in 2013 called Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century. And you have a piece in this special issue. What is Piketty’s main argument in Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century? And why does it warrant a whole issue of an education journal?

Mario Novelli:  2:33
Okay, well, Piketty’s book is a big one. And it really focuses around the rise of inequality over the last 200, 220 years.

And his central argument is that, unlike orthodox economic belief that as capitalism has developed, and as nations develop, inequality reduces. In fact, what he highlights is that, apart from a brief interlude between the first and second world war, inequality has tended to increase and what that leads into develop is a kind of the assertion of an economic law, which is that private wealth, inherited wealth increases faster than productive investment or economic growth.

And that has a tendency to increase inequality in the long run. And I think that for education, there are lots of implications, there are lots of implications around the role of education in the reproduction of inequality, the role of education in potentially redressing inequality and being in a sense an equalizing factor in society. So there are many dimensions that we thought in the special issue we might be able to explore. And as you know, my particular work focuses on the relationship between education and conflict. So I went a bit more deeply into that area.

Will Brehm:  4:11
And we will touch on that in a second. But first, just generally speaking, in your opinion, does Piketty have any weaknesses in his argument that you were able to uncover during your research?

Mario Novelli:  4:28
I mean, I think there are a lot of weaknesses, I would like to say that I think it’s a great book, I think it’s a really important book. And I think that in an accessible way, despite the length of the book, and he puts on the table, some really important ideas around issues of inequality, which for many years, has not been a problem for orthodox economists, inequality seems to be something that should be embraced as a natural part of economic development.

In terms of challenges, I think the first one is that Piketty is an economist. And although he’s much more open than neoclassical economists, his focus is firmly on the economic domain and economic inequality, which, for me, is important, but insufficient. I think, if we look at the history of popular movements, who have struggled against the inequality over the last 70 years, economic inequality is only one domain of confrontation, it’s a key domain. But nevertheless, it’s just one site of contestation, I think, what we need to explore are other modes of inequality alongside economic inequality, cultural, political, national, and their effects on genders, identities, political rights, human rights, etc. So I think, you know, the big area is the kind of narrow economism within which we approach inequality. So I think there are lots of more depth different dimensions to focus on.
The second thing, and I think this is linked to his empiricism, the focus on numbers on evidence that is attainable is that I don’t think that everything that is important can necessarily be measured, and not everything that’s measured is necessarily important. And I think that’s why theory matters, because theory sometimes helps us to get under the surface of things that we can’t see unequal structures, social classes, racism, things like that, that exists, but are not necessarily visible in, you know, the classic, countable ways of empiricism.
And I think, then, the third difficulty in Piketty’s work, or the third omission, at least for me, particularly, is his failure to explore the issue of imperialism, the role of the north and the south, slavery, the history of colonialism in the history of capitalist development. It’s as if capitalist development unfolded through economic laws. But actually, what we know is that capitalism has also unfolded through conquest, colonialism, etc.

Will Brehm:  7:03
It sounds like he misses some of the, my guess, more complex issues of inequality as a social and cultural phenomenon. But how does Piketty or does Piketty bring up the issue of education in his work?

Mario Novelli:  8:07
Well, I guess as an economist, it’s not surprising that Piketty sees education as a kind of an engine of growth. And potentially, I think, an engine of equity and the reduction of inequality. And, you know, that’s linked to his understanding of human capital. And the idea that we invest in education in order to improve both our own personal economic wealth, but also the wealth of the nation. Though, of course, this is challenged, the relevance of human capital theory is challenged by himself in the book, because essentially, what he’s arguing is that inherited capital, debt capital is more productive than economic growth and productive capital. So investing in education may not bring you the returns that it might want have brought. So even for the human capital theory, there is a problem at the moment in terms of the nature of capitalist development. So that’s really where his focuses on the returns of education in terms of economic development and economic growth.

Will Brehm:  9:33
In your opinion, what is the relationship between education and capitalism if it’s not human capital?

Mario Novelli:  9:42
Okay, well, I think human capital is part of the story. Let’s be clear about that. I’m not saying that human capital is not important. But I think that if we look at the relationship between education and capitalism, it’s much more complex. I guess, I would start with Roger Dale’s work of the 1970s Education and the Capitalist State, where you need to think about education’s relationship to accumulation ie human capital, social cohesion – the role of education systems in making different population groups get on or not, and also in legitimation, the role of education in making students accept the situation that they’re in, the state of affairs that exists in society. So in a sense, it has a legitimating effect. It has a social cohesion affect, it also has an accumulation effect. And as Roger always pointed out, these three dimensions are not necessarily compatible. So if you focus on accumulation, you may undermine social cohesion, through selectivity etc.

And you may undermine accumulation and social cohesion by focusing too much on the legitimation. So there are range of contradictions in that. So that’s the first area that I think is important to return to. And I think the second area which is a more modern phenomenon is that education is not just human capital, in the terms of self-investment, and the production or the role of education in economic growth.

Education has emerged as an important commodity in the late 20th century, early 21st century whereby it’s one of the fastest growing industries and we can see that the expansion of universities and international chains of schools, so education itself is a factor in economic exchange now and I think that needs to be explored in much more detail and is completely avoided in Piketty’s work, as Susan Robertson’s article in the same special issue focuses on.

The third area, and I think this is, again, really important is the area of inequalities, the role of education in reproducing inequalities. And I’m not just thinking about class and gender, which is a lot of the focus but also about the way education systems reproduce north south inequality, you know.

How is it that Sub Saharan Africa, for example, remains marginalized in terms of the international economy. And I would say that the role of education, education actors, the International architecture of education, delivery, and policy also plays its role in the reproduction of those inequalities. So there are different dimensions. So in a sense, Piketty importantly looks at one area, but I think that if you’re going to take education seriously, you have to look at it much more broadly.

Will Brehm:  13:21
I think it would be very interesting for listeners to hear more about how education can contribute to inequality because I think on the surface that doesn’t sit well with a lot of people, because they would see it as education is the way to achieve equality and to achieve progress.

Mario Novelli:  13:47
Yeah, that’s right. Well, I guess you know, the simplest terms, particularly if you have a Western if we’re thinking about a Western audience, is the way that education privileges some actors and undermines others, the inequality in the provision of education in my own country, in the UK, depending on your postcode, the qualities of schools are often highly differential.

The differentiation in your parents’ salary may determine what type of school you go to whether you go to a private school. So education, in that sense, acts as a filter for social class, whether you can afford a house in a nice area, a wealthy area where there are good schools, or you live in a poor area. So those dimensions, I think, reproduced himself around the world in a sense that education is often highly stratified. But there are also other dimensions of the way education reproduces inequality in terms of, for example, language.

The language issue is a big one whose language gets taught in countries and whose languages get marginalized and what is the effect of that on those that speak that marginalized language? How do they perform in schools? Do they perform less well? If so, what’s the effect of that in the long term? And then in terms of even the content, the curriculum content of schooling, let’s think about you are from a minority community in a particular country, and you’re learning about the heroes of that nation, and none of your communities are ever represented. They’re always representations from other communities, how does that make you feel? What does it lead to? So there’s a lot of ways that education can reproduce alienation. And of course, vice versa, a highly equitable, inclusive open education system may be able to smooth over some of those inequalities that are inherited through generation.

Will Brehm:  16:17
And is part of the inheriting through generations related to imperialism, as you said earlier?

Mario Novelli:  16:24
Yes, certainly, if you’re looking at, let’s take the exploration of the African curriculum, what we see is a legacy of colonial interventions into the national education system. So take a country like Kenya that inherited its education system, from years of colonial rule where there was a highly elitist education system where for the vast majority were excluded and the minority were selected to play roles in the civil service, a small elite, that model of education still carries on to reproduce a highly unequal class structure, often justified by education attainment, but actually pre-ordained through social class.

Will Brehm:  17:27
I’d like to shift gears here to look at some of your work in educational development, particularly in countries like South Sudan or Myanmar and some more of these conflict areas as you said earlier. What have you found how inequalities kind of manifest and function inside education in some of these conflict areas or countries that have experienced conflict?

Mario Novelli:  18:00
Right. Well, maybe I should take a step back. I think that development itself as a field is a highly contradictory field. On the one hand, international development has this idea within it of the rest catching up with the West. This idea that through the study of development, national ex-colonial states, postcolonial states will eventually catch up with the West. But at the same time, international development for other thinkers is a mechanism through which the chains of colonialism were the armies were replaced by new mechanisms, new chains, which with far less visible, not necessarily less powerful than the troops. And so I think that the field itself reproduces some of these dilemma wherever it goes in a sense, the question of, is international development, doing good?

And redressing some of these inequalities or actually, is it there to reproduce them in different modes in different ways. And I think that you see that all around, you know, you see, for example, in Sierra Leone, the role of the international peacekeeping community that came during the war, and after the war in the 1990s, massively increasing the cost of housing and accommodation in the central rise, forcing prices of food up as the international community intervenes in the conflict. And it’s those kinds of things, you know, some would say, the unintentional effects of intervention, which often reproduce or exacerbate inequalities and the same you can go for looking at international intervention in education systems, are they improving the system? Are they reducing inequalities? Or are they actually exacerbating those? And, you know, depending where you’re looking, you have different answers. I mean, Kenya, come back to Kenya, just because I’ve done work in there recently. And the British government defeat has been promoting low cost basic education for poor communities and private schooling for poor communities, which is it seems to be having a demonstrable negative effect on poor communities. And that’s being pushed by an international development agency in the name of doing good, but actually seems to be having devastating effects. So I think that when I teach students of international development, which I do every year, and I always kind of ask them at the beginning of the class, how they feel about entering the field of international development. And they always say, you know, we’re really pleased, we want to, you know, help in Africa, we want to help in Asia. And I say, well, I hope by the end of the course, that you feel a little bit ashamed as well. And that by the end of the course, you actually think that some of the things that have been done in the name of development are actually just as bad as some of the things that have been done in the name of war.

Will Brehm:  22:02
Is that how you feel?

Mario Novelli:  22:06
Ah yes, largely I mean, as I said, it’s a contradictory field. If I thought that it was only doing bad I wouldn’t remain inside the field. But there is a strong sense that like many other terrains, there is a battle going on, it’s the terrain of contestation, and you fight your battles inside that field, to push it in certain directions, and dependent on different social forces at different times, development moves in different directions, so take the 1980s and the global policy of structural adjustment that had an absolutely devastating effect on African and Latin American communities, massively increasing inequalities, and I don’t think anybody can say that that was a positive period.

But the reaction to that was a period of, let’s say, more social democratic approach, a range of different reforms, a range of different challenges to that model. Although I have to say that, you know, a lot of the remnants of that model still remain, particularly within some of the big institutions like the World Bank.

Will Brehm:  23:30
In your article, you say that you have to manage your existential angst when it comes to the contradictions of educational development. Do you have any tips for someone like myself, who does a little bit of work in international development as well and feel similar, conflicting kind of emotions working in that space?

Mario Novelli:  23:58
I think so. I mean, I am uncomfortable. And, you know, I’m happy to say that and I say it to everyone. But on the other hand, what I say to myself as well, in the field I work, which is on the relationship between education and conflict and violent conflict, if I didn’t engage with organizations and in the field, then I wouldn’t be able to make any commentary on it. So I kind of say that you have to, in a sense, get your hands dirty, in order to have some legitimacy in the debates that you’re entering into.

And so in a sense, I wouldn’t advocate for people not to engage, but they would engage cautiously. The second area, I think that’s important is to understand that institutions I’ve been working for UNICEF, I think, for the last seven years, more or less, most of my research time, which is about half of my time, my work time, for the last seven years, has been involved with UNICEF. And I think that what I’ve learned from that experience is that these institutions themselves are not homogenous, there are different actors, different processes going on. And in a sense, often what happens is, you get picked up by certain actors, they kind of know what they’re looking for, and pick people that think that they can deliver that. So in a sense, you get caught up in political battles that are going on in institutions, and you often get picked up and then dropped by these institutions. But I think that you can learn a lot. And I think the good thing about yourself, myself, if we’re academics, and not consultants, we’re not only as good as our last job, we have our own job to go back to, we can select, we can be a bit more selective about what we get involved in. And I think that, you know, the problem with full time consultants is that actually, they’re always looking for their next job. And so they’re always trying to please the people who are paying them. And I think that leads sometime to some complicity in the production of information and evidence. So I would say for people to engage when they engage, within a sense, real world research that they enter into that domain cautiously, and also recognize, you know, some of the constraints.

Will Brehm:  26:48
So part of this work that you’ve done kind of straddling both the researcher and the consultant practitioner in educational development is that you’ve ended up with your team, putting together a framework of trying to understand inequality and education in ways that are probably more robust and complex than those being put forward by others. Can you talk a little bit about your framework and the value that you think it has?

Mario Novelli:  27:22
Yeah, well, as you were saying, I’ve been leading or co-leading a Research Consortium between the University of Amsterdam and the University of Ulster, where we’ve been working in a range of different countries on the relationship between education and peace building. So when we came in, we had a lot of initial meetings around how would we conceptualize peace building in education, and then how would we apply that in the field to start analyzing different countries.

Now, that project began on the back of an earlier one that I did with Professor Alan Smith, between 2010 and 2012. And in that we looked at Lebanon, Nepal, and Sierra Leone, and explored the relationship between education and conflict. And through that analysis, we develop to critique of the international community’s approach to peace building. And the location of education there in which was essentially that the broad approach of the international community to peacebuilding was a kind of security first liberal peace approach. And I’ll just explain those very quickly. And essentially, the argument was that you need to have security before anything else can move forward. So you need to retrain the military, retrain the police, sort the prison system out and then the social development, education, health can come later. And this is also tied with an argument that there was a kind of process of the reconstruction of a conflict affected state that you need to have security, then democracy, then open the country to open the markets up, allow the economy to develop, and then eventually, the rest of this stuff will follow. And basically, our critique of that was that it produced a kind of negative piece, the violence stopped. But the reasons that underpin the violence often remained, and the things that underpinned that violence was often inequalities. So I remember that we went to rural villages in Sierra Leone and ask questions around, you know, 10 years after the peace process, what has peace brought? And often the response was very little. So communities largely saw little benefit from peace in terms of their material lives, their access to education, their access to water, etc. And what we argued was that that approach, while short termly successful in the long term was laying the seeds for another conflict, that they hadn’t addressed the reasons why the conflict broke out in the first place. And we see that reproduced in many parts of the world. So that’s our starting point to say that we need a more social peace building model and more health and education are important.

So from that, with the new research project that we’ve done over the last couple of years, we developed a kind of social justice plus reconciliation approach, which we called the four Rs.

We took the first three Rs from Nancy Fraser’s work on social justice: redistribution, recognition, and representation. So economic inequality, cultural inequality, and political inequality. And we also added the fourth R of reconciliation, which was basically that you needed to address the drivers of conflict, which were often economic inequality, political and cultural inequality. But after a period of war, you also need to bring communities together, you need to have process of reconciliation.

And in a sense, those are often in contradiction. On the one hand, if you want to address those inequalities, you have to upset people, you have to redress, redistribute, reorganize. If you try to reconcile people, you need to deal with the legacies of conflict, which means often bringing them together. So those four different Rs, those four different dimensions working together, provided us in a sense, with the kind of roadmap to explore different countries approaches to education, so allowed us to look at different dimensions of the education system, how much money is spent on the education system? Where does it go? How is it distributed? Who gets what, where? Why don’t others get more? It also allows us to look at recognition which cultures are rarified, which languages which histories which communities are marginalized. It allows us to ask about representation, political issues, who gets to make decisions about issues in the education system that affect them? Who are marginalized and excluded from those decisions? And then finally, what is the education system doing in terms of reconciliation in terms of bringing communities back together after war? Is the school an obstacle to that process of reconciliation or a facilitator for that? So we looked at those different dimensions, and then produced a range of Country Reports around that looking at different aspects of them. And, you know, all kind of heuristic approaches have their limitations. But I think that it’s had some important policy effects. It has been taken up by a range of different national governments, I’m thinking South Sudan and South Africa, in particular. So you know, I’m pretty pleased with that.

Will Brehm:  33:55
One of your critiques about Thomas Piketty earlier was that he focused on empiricism. And in a sense, he wasn’t taking a critical realist approach about trying to realize that there are, there’s a social ontology more than empiricism. So some things we can’t see that that are important, or structures that exist that determine behavior and action that can’t necessarily be seen. How does your framework include a critical realist perspective?

Mario Novelli:  34:34
Well, I mean, I think that that framework, the four R’s is only a beginning, in a sense that all it is this kind of coat hangers to hang different dimensions of injustices and inequalities on what matters then is how you theorize and understand the underpinnings of those inequalities. Yeah, how did they emerge? What are their drivers, and I think that’s why in the sociology paper that you talk about on Piketty, I’ve tried to talk about the interaction between capitalism, imperialism and modernity and the complex and into weaved ways that these three phenomena intersect to reproduce those inequalities.

Will Brehm:  35:29
Well, Mario Novelli, thank you so much for joining Fresh Ed. It was really wonderful to talk on so many different topics.

Mario Novelli:  35:35
Thank you very much for inviting me.

Will Brehm:  1:58
Mario Novelli,欢迎你做客FreshEd

Mario Novelli: 2:01

Will Brehm:  2:03
针对法国经济学家托马斯·皮凯蒂(Thomas Piketty)于2013年的著作《21世纪资本论》,《英国教育社会学杂志》出了一期特刊。作为特刊的撰稿人之一,可否总结一下皮凯蒂在《21世纪资本论》中的主要论点,以及它有何特殊之处会使得一本教育期刊专门出特辑讨论呢?

Mario Novelli:  2:33

Will Brehm:  4:11

Mario Novelli:  4:28




Will Brehm:  7:03

Mario Novelli:  8:07

Will Brehm:  9:33

Mario Novelli:  9:42
需要澄清的是,人力资本是一方面,我并不否认其重要性,但教育和资本主义之间的关系要复杂得多。首先,我想引用一下罗杰·戴尔(Roger Dale)的观点,他于上世纪70年代发表的《教育与资本主义国家》一文中反思了教育与资本积累的关系(即人力资本)、教育与社会凝聚力的关系(即教育系统能否起到使不同人群和谐相处的作用),以及教育与合法性的关系(即教育使学生接受他们所处地位与社会现状)。所以,从某种意义上说,教育具有正当合法、凝聚社会和积累资本的作用。罗杰一直表示这三点未必能兼得。比如,如果强调资本积累,那么社会凝聚力可能会因为择优性而受损。如果过分强调合法性,那么资本积累和社会凝聚力也会被削弱。这其中有很多重矛盾。这是我认为第一个值得回顾的重要观点。

第二点是一种比较新的现象,即在自我投资和生产方面,或者说教育在经济增产中的作用不仅是人力资本,而是成为一种重要的商品形式。自20世纪末至21世纪初,教育是发展最快的行业之一,大学和国际学校不断扩张。因此如今,教育本身也变成了经济交换的一种形式。这一点需要更加深入仔细的研究,但正如我们的特刊中苏珊·罗伯森(Susan Robertson)强调的,皮凯蒂的书里完全忽略这一点。


Will Brehm:  13:21

Mario Novelli:  13:47


Will Brehm:  16:17

Mario Novelli:  16:24

Will Brehm:  17:27

Mario Novelli:  18:00



Will Brehm:  22:02

Mario Novelli:  22:06

Will Brehm:  23:30

Mario Novelli:  23:58



Will Brehm:  26:48

Mario Novelli:  27:22





Will Brehm:  33:55

Mario Novelli:  34:34

Will Brehm: 35:29
Mario Novelli,很高兴能聊到这么多的话题,感谢你的分享!

Mario Novelli: 35:35

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In a recent paper for the University of Johannesburg, Raewyn Connell shared some of her thinking on the decolonization of knowledge. In many ways she aimed to re-think the history of knowledge itself, moving away from the Northern bias and colonial structures in mainstream social science. She argues, “The relationship between knowledge produced in different parts of the world is not as simple as “Western” domination. Knowledge flows in multiple directions from the metropole to the periphery and from the periphery to the metropole.”

Raewyn is a Professor Emerita at the University of Sydney. She has been an advisor to United Nations initiatives on gender equality and peacemaking, and, in 2010, the Australian Sociological Association established the Raewyn Connell Prize for the best book in Australian sociology.

Citation: Connell, Raewyn, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 35, podcast audio, August 1, 2016.

Will Brehm:  2:12
Raewyn Connell, welcome to Fresh Ed.

Raewyn Connell:  2:15
I am glad to be here.

Will Brehm:  2:17
In a recent paper for the University of Johannesburg, you shared some of your thinking on the decolonization of knowledge. Now for you to decolonize knowledge, it must be colonized in the first place. So how do you see knowledge is being colonized?

Raewyn Connell:  2:40
Well, that’s got a number of dimensions.

It is a very live issue in South Africa at the moment because there’s a Rhodes Must Fall movement at the University of Cape Town, but it’s also been an issue around the majority world, the postcolonial world, for generations, in fact. And it’s an issue, now, of course, because of what’s happened over the last four or 500 years as global empires have been created, and then a global economy with its center in the rich countries of the Global North. And parallel to that material economies, if you like, is an economy of knowledge in which information, concepts, ways of thought, methodologies, and so forth, all circulate, and are exchanged, and that has been very strongly shaped by the growth of Empire, and then the inequality as it is the neoliberal economy. And that’s what we’re referring to when we talk about the colonization of knowledge or the interconnection, if you like, between colonialism and the construction of knowledge. So we have now in the world an economy of knowledge of dominant knowledge formation in which the colonized world has been very important historically, but hasn’t controlled what’s going on.

And to the extent that intellectual workers in the global periphery have been able to participate in recent generations, they fundamentally had to do so in the terms that are laid down by knowledge institutions in the Global North, reflecting their point of view on the world and their historical experiences. So, when we talk about the decolonization of knowledge, we’re talking about the various ways in which that history and that current massive structure of inequalities is being addressed and contested and slowly in small steps gradually changed.

Will Brehm:  5:10
So, you say that empire and neoliberal economies are shaping this dominant knowledge that is colonizing knowledge around the world.

Raewyn Connell:  5:23
Absolutely. And that’s a very familiar point actually, in the history of science. So, if you read, you know, Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle,for instance, one of the most famous scientific documents ever written where the young Charles Darwin sailed around the world with his British Navy survey ship and collected specimens and did geological observations. He looked at the famous finches in the Galapagos Islands, looked at coral reefs, and out of that, over a long period of reflection and maturation but to very significant extent out of that experience, came modern biology, modern theories of evolution.

And you can tell that kind of story or you can see elements of that kind of story in the history of many other scientific fields, too. Astronomy, for instance, you know, half of the heavens, if you like, are visible from the southern hemisphere. The southern knowledge from the southern hemisphere has been quite important in particular fields of astronomy. In the social sciences too and this is in a way, the first way I came to understand these kinds of issues because I’m a sociologist. You look at the history of sociology, we’re given various myths about how it was all about modernization in Europe and Weber and Marx and so forth. But actually if you look back in the very early days of sociology, it was very largely about knowledge from the colonized world which was built into a 19th century narrative of progress and what I call the image or a model of global difference between the primitive and the advanced but then became the framework of all modern sociology up until about the time of the first World War.

So, the encounter between European colonizers and the colonized societies has been really formative for the history of what we inaccurately call Western science. In fact, it has always been global science, though in the last two, 300 years, it has been essentially centered in the rich and powerful states of the Global North.

Will Brehm:  7:56
And you said that oftentimes those people who are creating knowledge in the Global South or in postcolonial states, or even in colonial states, they are using the same framework and concepts that are developed by Western or, you know what is seen as, quote-unquote, “Western scientists.” Can you give an example of how that is happening?

Raewyn Connell:  8:22
Oh, well, if you like, you know, stand in any country in the periphery and look around you, and you will see it.

Not all knowledge producers are doing this, but this is, if you like, the official knowledge formation in the university system. It is what is recognized as a science, it’s what funded by government research funding agencies, it is what the Chinese have been building as they restructure the university system, you know. I look around myself at the University of Sydney here in Australia. And, you know, from in just about every direction, I see people who are doing research, constructing knowledge, within the framework of methods and theories and what’s observable and how you actually conduct yourself as a scientist, that is, you know, something like 97% imported from Europe and North America. And, that’s just typical of the official knowledge institutions globally. So, that’s why I talk about the situation of global hegemony in the mainstream knowledge formation.

So, I mean again, if I can mention my own discipline of sociology, you look at the local sociology journal, it’s called Journal of Sociologyand you know, the typical article in it is by an Australian or someone from New Zealand from the region. And it will have data from Australia or New Zealand or the region that the typical article in the journal, but the rest of theoretical framework in which is done will be Bourdieu, Foucault, Giddens, the modern masters of the Global North or, you know, Marx, Weber, Durkheim – that is the official founding fathers of the discipline.

And the methods that they will be following will again, typically not in absolutely every case, but overwhelmingly the case, the methods will be those that have been acquired from people who studied in American or European universities, want to do surveys or qualitative analysis or whatever it may be from Northern institutions or following Northern models that is regarded as proper scientific sociology. And if you operate in any other way, you are seen as, you know, not a proper, you’re likely to be seen as somehow not a proper sociologists or doing something bizarre or extraneous to the real businesses of the discipline, And that of course is not particular to sociology; that’s true in every discipline, with perhaps exception if it is a discipline of postcolonial studies where that exists, which isn’t very often.

And the little bits of the university where bits of indigenous knowledge begins to creep in but that is very, very much marginalized and in some parts of the university’s work, for instance, biomedical research, you don’t find it at all.

Will Brehm:  11:56
Let’s talk about some of the indigenous knowledge or these other ways of conducting research using different methodologies and different theories than those found in the Global North or in the West, particularly in Europe. So, can you describe some of these alternative ways of theorizing or using methods that are different than using Bourdieuor Durkheim?

Raewyn Connell:  12:24
Yeah, well, the first thing you’d say is that the very idea of constructing research or conducting research is, if you like, embedded currently in the dominant knowledge formation. So, for instance, people in indigenous communities in Australia, who are regarded as bearers of knowledge, would typically not see themselves as researchers. They would see themselves as bearers of knowledge, wisdom, knowhow. The knowledge will actually include a great deal of empirical knowledge, empirical information, data about their country, about their social relationships, about their people that will be part of their knowledge, but it is not organized in the form of research enterprise where you publish results in peer reviewed journals, and so on, and so forth. So we have to always understand that knowledge formations are social processes, social constructions, which had an institutional base and the modern university is, with certain interesting exceptions, but overwhelmingly this is true, is institutionally organized around the Northern dominated research-oriented knowledge system. So we think of as quote, “Western science,” unquote.

So we’re looking at different knowledge practices, sometimes different institutional basis, if we think, for instance, is another kind of knowledge formation, that is the Islamic knowledge, Islamic science. We are looking at a different institutional history because all amount the Islamic scholars has historically been organized in different kinds of institutions from the European University model, although there’s now an attempt, of course, the last hundred years or so have been attempts to synthesize this in the Islamic world, not in the Christian world.

And in certain institutional pluralisms, in that kind of context, if you’re looking at indigenous communities, say, in South America, or Australia, or the Pacific Islands, you’re looking at groups who have not historically had large knowledge institutions like either the Islamic or the European model. And there the institutional basis of knowledge is likely to be ceremonies, age gradings, cohorts, communities as a different shape.

This will make it a little difficult to plug out of those contexts, a kind of abstracted knowledge. Label it indigenous knowledge and, say, okay, we can take this as our framework and start publishing in mainstream European or North American journals. That model does not seem to work, or at least it is very hard to get working.

It is not totally out of the question. There are people who tried to do this, for instance, picking up some theories from the Islamic scholar, Ibn Khaldun from the Maghreb North West Africa some hundreds of years ago, as a kind of classic social theorist and trying to do analysis of contemporary problems in the kinds of terms that he was working out. There are some people who do that, but that does not have a major presence, either in Islamic scholarship or in the research-oriented mainstream.

Will Brehm:  16:48
I think, it is interesting that, you know, it is oftentimes we try and contrast the Western science with this quote-unquote, indigenous scientists, if it’s the same sort of, you know, body, that body of knowledge that can be, you know, in a sense, taken as Western knowledge, but really, you’re saying that there’s all sorts of different ways that knowledge is formed, and economies of knowledge operate.

Raewyn Connell:  17:17
And we should not be surprised at this, because this is also true in the Global North. You know, there is this formal knowledge system in the education system in the, you know, organized in the elite level in the universities, research institutes, and so forth. But there are other knowledge formations in the society for the Global North too. There are local knowledge formations, ways of thinking, ways of knowing, ways of understanding the natural world that you find, for instance, in rural communities in Europe or North America that do not correspond in any simple way to the mainstream knowledge institutions. So this is not the West versus the rest at all, although there are power relations, and there is a, when I talk about a knowledge economy, this is not exactly a metaphor, I mean, there are actually flows and exchanges going on. And the main pattern of that, which was pointed out particularly by West African philosopher whom I greatly admire called Paulin Hountondji.

The main pattern of the global economy is knowledge is much the same as in the material economy. That is, the majority world serve as a source of raw material, just as in the material economy, you know is a production of minerals, oil, agricultural products, crops and so forth, which is shipped to the Global North to supply the way of life there.

So there is a flow of data usually fairly raw, sometimes more processed. And that’s a form of contestation that goes on now to how much knowledge producers in the global periphery are able to control the development of and processing of knowledge.

For instance, in the AIDS area: AIDS research is now dominated by biomedical researchers with a strong presence of social sciences too. There are in fact contestations going on in Southern Africa, which has the highest burden of HIV infection in the world at exactly this point, because the dominant Northern model of biomedical research, AIDS, now involves very tightly controlled, very large multivariate trials of different forms of drug treatment of HIV infection. And the old model for this has been that this was very expensive kind of research to do. The only two forces of funding on that scale are governments in the Global North, such as the Center for Disease Control in the United States, or drug companies also in the Global North, and they want therefore, if you are paying for it, they want to control it. But this collection of data, absolutely rely on some knowledge workers in Southern Africa, who have been claiming more and more that their expertise and their labor is central to this place, process. They should have a great deal, more control, and responsibility and recognition in it and has been given them in the past. So, they’ve got a kind of contestation about the inequalities of knowledge production that’s going on in this you know, if you like heartland area of biomedical research. And this is not exactly a confrontation between indigenous knowledge and wisdom fans.

It’s within broadly the framework of biomedical research, but it’s recognizing the global dimension of this, and the multiple players and forms of expertise are involved in producing mainstream forms of knowledge.

Will Brehm:  22:08
It seems quite similar to the example that you used earlier on Albert Einstein and his work in the Portuguese colonies.

Raewyn Connell:  22:17
Yeah, well, Albert himself did not go there. It’s a lovely story, actually.

I wonder, we do not think of nuclear physics or relativity theory, cosmology and so forth as the most Northern and abstract and pure science stuff.

And indeed, Albert who developed the first version of the theory of relativity, when he was working in Switzerland, then went to Germany, when he was working on general relativity, published his famous papers on general relativity in the middle of the First World War.

And because science is a little more international than national politics, this is read by scientists in Britain. And when Germany, you know, was defeated in the First World War, lost all of its colonies, lost everything. It was British scientists who worked out the way to test Albert’s theory through, which predicted the deflection of light on the gravity, something that in Newtonian cosmology was impossible.

But Einstein not only predicted it but worked out how much it would probably be mathematically. And it was British scientists, who then thought, aha, the solar eclipse coming up, which we can be observed from the South Atlantic. So they set up observatories wanting some Portuguese controlled Island off the coast of Africa, and the other one on the other side of the South Atlantic in Brazil, which is the largest former Portuguese colony, did their observations, took this very famous picture of the sun being eclipsed, and, lo and behold, the star, the images of the stars near the surface whose light passed near the surface of the sun was deflected about as much as Einstein’s theory had predicted. That experiment was what made Einstein world famous, and it was knowledge that came from the colonized and postcolonial world. And without, you know, that connection, the theory of relativity would not be tested in that way.

So, I mean, that is a quite a stark example, if you like, of the global dimension in what is conventionally called wisdom and science. But so many fields of knowledge have absolutely depended on flows of data and, behind them, certain form of expertise, sometimes practical, sometimes knowledge work in the Global South.

What we are really looking at then is an international knowledge economy, where wealth and authority are centered in the Global North, where those institutions of the Global North still, to quite striking degree, depend on data flows from the rest of the world. Think of climate science, think of all these climate models, things have been so central to political debate about climate change in the last, you know, 10 – 15 years, where do you think the data from them come, a great deal of it comes from Global South.

Will Brehm:  26:01
So do you see any counter currents in terms of the flow of knowledge?

Raewyn Connell:  26:06
Yeah, look, there has always been contestation of these processes. There has always been a degree of dependence by the North. This is not just a single northern dominance, southern subordination scenario. So northern science, if you like, northern controlled science operating in the south, always depended on practices, knowledge, institutions, and so forth in the Global South, so there is sort of dependence there. There have been many appropriations, partial appropriations and changes of so-called Western thinking, Western concepts, series, and methods in countries that were under colonial or semi-colonial influence. You know, there’s a whole history of that in India, there’s a history of that in China, which was not directly colonized or quasi colonized for 50 or 60 years, and where a whole couple of generations of intellectuals, you know, address themselves to adapting European knowledge systems for Chinese use, something that’s still going on.

And there have been – and this is something that I, you know, center my discussion on in the book Southern Theory– there is theoretical work that goes on in the colonized and postcolonial world. So although the mainstream knowledge formation has a division of labor, where theory and method are developed in the Global North, data gathering occurs around the global periphery. What that does, actually is ignore the production of concepts, methodologies, and analyses by the intellectuals of the colonized world. And when you go looking for it, which of course, most conventional research in the social sciences doesn’t do, but when you go looking for it, there’s a really rich literature of social analysis from the colonized and then the postcolonial world. So there’s a rich tradition of cultural analysis and debate in India, in the Arab world, in the Islamic world more general. This fascinating intellectual debates and analyses, sociological reasoning in Iran, for instance, influenced by Shia Islam.

And, you know, in colonized and postcolonial Africa, in Latin America, I mean this is a rich source of those ideas, theories and debates about society which has historically been marginalized from mainstream social science, but are there, and in the very beginning to contest the current situation.

So yeah, look, there’s always been contestation around this. There’s probably more contestation now. I think certainly in the social sciences is something of a movement going on in social science at the moment of the decolonial, decolonizing southern perspective kind. It still hasn’t come to be a dominant form of thinking in social science yet. But it certainly is a lively presence at the moment.

Will Brehm:  30:17
So, this may sound like a stupid question, but where would you find the ideas that you were talking about in terms of southern theory in say, India or Iran? Like, are these ideas that are inside national research journals? Or do they appear in other places?

Raewyn Connell:  30:40
Well, as I tell my students, no questions are stupid. But sometimes the answers are.

You can find some of this in academic journals, but not a great deal. Why? Because academic journals are characteristic of, you know, institutional forms of the dominant knowledge formation and the tendency in, you know, if you look at, again, because I’m a social scientist, I know this field best, if you look at the social science journal published in India or China or Australia or South Africa, you will typically find that structure that I suggested before that is northern theory, southern data.

But you may also find some contestation of that, you may find some writing, you will find actually some writing about local intellectuals who have moved outside that framework. When I’ve gone looking for this kind of material, I have looked very, you know, very widely indeed. I have gone way outside conventional academic sources.

I have haunted secondhand bookshop. I have browsed libraries. I have looked for genres which would not, you know, normally occur in the bibliography of a mainstream social science journal article. So, for instance, some really quite interesting social analysis by a guy like Ali Shariati in Iran is in the form of a sermon.

There is a considerable amount of social analysis in books that might be though of as politically polemic.

Let me give two examples of that by people who are very famous in their own areas but not widely known in the Global North. One is Ambedkar, who was the moving spirit behind the writing of the Indian constitution after independence, very important figure. He published an analysis of the caste system, which incidentally was very critical of Gandhi, whom Ambedkar thought was not serious about contesting the caste system and the social exclusion of the underneath caste. And that I think is a very interesting document from the point of view of social analysis of stratification studies in fact. Go to another continent to Southern Africa, again going back into history – Ambedkar’s stuff that I’m thinking about was written in the 1930s – go back to the time of First World War, there’s a remarkable book called Native Life in South Africawritten by Sol Plaatje published in 1916. Sol Plaatje was a younger, contemporary of Durkheim and Weber. This book is not the story of an African farm or an ethnography of a native community. It is actually an analysis based on field research of the impact of laws passed by the South African Union Government a few years before called the Natives Land Act, which was basically appropriating indigenous land for white commercial farmers.

So, this is a massive land grab and forcing black families of their ancestral land to create a prosperous agricultural capitalist economy in South Africa. Plaatje was the secretary of the organization and later became the African National Congress, i.e., the current government of South Africa. And he bicycled around the country because he didn’t own a car, and doing fieldwork, collecting the narratives with the families who’ve been forced off their land and wrote it up in his book, together with an account of the political processes involved. The book was published in England in an attempt to influence the British government to override this legislation, which conspicuously failed to do.

That is a marvelous piece of social analysis and social research. It’s really, I think, the classic of world sociology. You never hear about it in mainstream sociology, mainstream histories of sociology, you know, because it’s written in a different genre in a colonized part of the world by a black guy, who no one in the mainstream ever heard about.

So I mean, those are just two examples that I could give hundreds and just seems to me that, you know, what currently exists as mainstream social science is terribly impoverished, because it doesn’t access this enormous wealth of thinking analysis, theory, concepts and data that exists in the colonized and postcolonial world.

Will Brehm:  37:00
And it’s interesting that you showed that it exists historically. And also in the present moment, there’s plenty of work being done. So, are you hopeful that universities that produce the dominant knowledge that’s, quote unquote, Western science? Are you hopeful that those institutions will change to begin to incorporate some more of this Southern theory or the indigenous knowledge, all the different examples that you have talked about today?

Raewyn Connell:  37:36
I blow hot and cold on this, I have to say. Sometimes, you know, when a discussion of some of these issues occurs, I think, yeah, mainstream institutions can do this and are beginning to pay attention and, you know, hybrid institutions that combined, say, the university form with indigenous knowledge or with Southern theory are coming into existence. So, for instance, a group of indigenous universities have recently been founded in Bolivia. And there’s more of this kind of work going on in Ecuador that I know of and there are, I know, similar kinds of work being done in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

So, and every now and again, we have a, you know, a panel or debate or plenary session on decolonizing knowledge, postcolonial perspectives in social science in a mainstream conference. In fact, next month, I am actually going to be speaking at the Nordic Sociological Association meeting in Finland precisely about these issues. So, there is interest in them. On the other hand, universities in some ways are getting more conventional and narrower as they are more tightly integrated into the neoliberal global economy, as say more university education is more commodified. Universities, like mine, here are getting to operate more and more like a profit-making corporation and becoming more and more obsessed with a position in global league tables.

And which according to conventional wisdom will determine their capacity to attract fee-paying overseas students and thus get lots and lots of money. And to appear well in the global league tables, you have to have published, people who publish in the most prestigious mainstream journals. Where are the most prestigious mainstream journals? In North America, Britain, and France.

And so there is now quite serious institutional pressure on researchers in countries like Australia to focus their publishing on Global North outlets, which means of course you have to publish within the conventions of knowledge using theories and methods that are familiar to the editors and reviewers for Global North journals, which means that, you know, southern theory, indigenous knowledge, alternative universalisms, all these formed Other knowledge formations – are nowhere.

They’re going to be squeezed out the more neoliberal commodification of these universities advances. So, look there is a struggle going on. It’s often an implicit struggle between democratic, what I see is as, democratic impulses in teaching and knowledge production and the forces of hierarchy, commodification, and convention on the other side.

And I don’t actually, you know, I find it very hard to predict what’s going to happen. It may be that there will be a growing split, a kind of shrinking narrow hierarchy obsessed body of eliet universities on the one hand, and the more democratic responses, but less well-resourced higher education system on the other. That’s one possible future.

Will Brehm:  41:55
Well, Raewyn Connell, thank you so much for joining FreshEd.

Raewyn Connell:  41:59
Glad to be here.

ويل بريهم: راوين كونيل، أهلًا بك في برنامج فريش إيد

راوين كونيل: أنا سعيد جدًا بوجودي معكم في البرنامج

ويل بريهم:في ورقة بحثية حديثة مقدمة إلى جامعة جوهانسبرج، حضرتك شاركت ببعض أفكارك عن موضوع إنهاء استعمار المعرفة. بالنسبة ليك، أن يتنهي استعمار المعرفة، هذا يعني في المقام الأول أن المعرفة مستعمرة. كيف ترى أن المعرفة  بتستعمَر؟

راوين كونيل: أوك، هذا الأمر له أبعاد كثيرة.هذه قضية حيوية جدًا في جنوب أفريقيا في الوقت الراهن نظرًا لحركة “ينبغي أن تسقط رودس” في جامعة كيب تاون، لكنها في الواقع أيضًا قضية مطروحة في الدول النامية، في مرحلة ما بعد الاستعمار، لعدة أجيال. وفي الواقع هي الآن قضية مهمة، بالتأكيد. وهذا بسبب ما حصل على مدار الـ 400 أو 500 سنة الماضية واللي شهدت قيام امبراطوريات عالمية، وكذلك ظهور اقتصاد عالمي بيتمركز في الدول الغنية الموجودة في شمال الكرة الأرضية بصورة خاصة.بالتوازي مع هذه الاقتصاديات المادية، هناك كمان اقتصاد المعرفة اللي فيه بيتم تداول وتبادل المعلومات والمفاهيم وطرق التفكير والمنهجيات وما إلى ذلك. وهذا اتشكل بقوة تأثرًا بنمو الإمبراطوريات الاقتصادية ثم عدم المساواةكما هو الحال فيالاقتصاد الليبرالي الجديد. ودا اللي هنشير إليه لما نتكلم عن استعمار المعرفة  أو التداخل بين الاستعمار وبناء المعرفة. عشان كدا احنا عندنا الآن في العالم ما يسمى باقتصاد المعرفة من خلال تكوين المعرفة المهيمنة واللي كان للعالم المستعمَر دور تاريخي هام للغاية فيها، لكنه مقدرش يتحكم فيها.

وبمقدار قدرة العاملين في المجال الفكري على مستوى العالم على المشاركة في بناء أجيال حديثة، كان عليهم أنهم يعملوا هذا بشكل أساسي بالشروط اللي وضعتها مؤسسات المعرفة في دول الشمال، بما يعكس وجهة نظرهم في العالم وخبراتهم التاريخية. علشان كدا، لما بنتكلم عن انهاء استعمار المعرفة، فاحنا بنتكلم عن الطرق المختلفة اللي بيتم من خلالها معالجة هذا التاريخ وهذا الكم الهائل من عدم المساواة ومواجهته وتغييره ببطء تدريجيُا.

ويل بريهم: إذًا، أنت بتقول إن هذه الإمبراطوريات والاقتصاديات الليبرالية الحديثة هي اللي بتشكل المعرفة المهيمنة اللي بتستعمر المعرفة حول العالم؟!

راوين كونيل: بالتأكيد. وهذا أمر مألوف للغاية في تاريخ العلوم. علشان كدا، إذا قرأت، كتاب داروين “رحلة البيجل”، على سبيل المثال، وهو أحد اشهر الوثائق العلمية المكتوبة على الإطلاق واللي فيه أبحر الشاب الصغير تشارلز داروين حول العالم بواسطة سفينته البحرية البريطانية وجمع العينات وسجل الملاحظات الجيولوجية. نظر إلى العصافير الشهيرة في جزر الجالاباجوس، وفحص الشعاب المرجانية. وبفضل هذه الخبرة إلى حد بعيد، على مدى فترة طويلة من التأمل والنضج، ظهرت البيولوجيا الحديثه ونظريات التطور الحديثة.

وانت كمان تقدر تحكي نفس القصة أو تقدر تشوف عناصرها في تاريخ كثير من المجالات العلمية الأخرى. علم الفلك، على سبيل المثال، أنت عارف أن نصف السماوات مرئي من نصف الكرة الجنوبي. فكانت المعرفة الجنوبية من نصف الكرة الجنوبي هامة للغاية في مجالات بعينها من علم الفلك. في العلوم الاجتماعية كمان، بكيفية ما، كان هذا هو الطريق الأول اللي من خلاله قدرت افهم هذه الأنواع من القضايا لأنني عالم اجتماع.

لما ننظر على تاريخ علم الاجتماع، سنجد أساطير كتيرة عن كيف أن كل شيء يخص الحداثة موجود لكن في أوروبا، ماركس وفيبر وما إلى ذلك. لكن في الحقيقة لو نظرنا على بداية علم الاجتماع، هنلاقي أنه كان يتعلق إلى حد بعيد بالمعرفة القادمة من العالم المستعمَر واللي أصبحت جزء من التقدم اللي حصل في القرن التاسع عشر، واللي أنا بسميها صورة أو نموذج الفرق العالمي بين علم الاجتماع البدائي، وعلم الاجتماع المتقدم؛ لكنها أصبحت بعد ذلك الإطار لكل علوم الاجتماع الحديث حتى وقت الحرب العالمية الأولى.

علشان كده، كان اللقاء بين المستعمرين الأوربيين والمجتمعات المُستعمرَة مكونًا حقيقيًا لتاريخ ما نسميهبشكل غير دقيق للعلم الغربي. في الواقع، هو كان دائمًا علم عالمي، على الرغم أنه في آخر 300 أو 400 سنة، كان مرتكز بشكل أساسي في الدول الغنية والقوية من شمال الكرة الأرضية.

ويل بريهم: أنت قلت قبل ذلك أن، في معظم الأحيان، اللي بيصنعوا المعرفة في دول الجنوب أو دول ما بعد الاستعمار، أو حتى في الدول الاستعمارية، بيستخدموا نفس الإطار والمفاهيم اللي طورها، بين قوسين، “العلماء الغربيين”. فهل ممكن تدينا مثال عن دا بيحصل ازاي؟

راوين كونيل: أها، بسيطة، أنت لو نظرت حواليك في أي دولة ودورت هتشوف دا كويس جدًا. مش كل صانعي المعرفة هما اللي بيعملوا دا، لكن هذا تكوين المعرفة الرسمية في النظام الجامعي. وهذا اللي بيُعترَف به كعِلم، وبيتم تمويله من قِبَل وكالات دعم البحوث الحكومية، ودا اللي بناه الصينيين وهما بيعيدوا هيكلة نظامهم الجامعي. أنا كمان لما أنظر حولي في جامعة سيدني هنا في أستراليا مثلًا بشوف أشخاص من كل مكان في العالم بيقوموا بأبحاث وبيشيدوا المعرفة من خلال إطار الأساليب والنظريات وما يمكن ملاحظته وكيف تتصرف كعالم. ودا بيتم استيراده بنسبة حوالي 97% من أوروبا وأمريكا الشمالية. وهذا تمامًا هو اللي حاصل في مؤسسات المعرفة الرسمية عالميًا. عشان كدا أنا بتكلم عن أوضاع الهيمنة العالمية في تكوين المعرفة العامة.

لو سمحتلي أتكلم مرة تاني عن تخصصي في علم الاجتماع، لما ننظر مجلة علم الاجتماع المحلية، واللي اسمها “مجلة علم الاجتماع”، سنجد أن المقال الرئيسي فيها مكتوب بواسطة شخص استرالي أو من نيوزيلندا أو من المنطقة. وهتلاقي فيه معلومات من أستراليا أو نيوزيلندا أو المنطقة، أما باقي الإطار النظري اللي المقال اتعمل من خلاله هيكون من بورديو، أو فوكو، أو جيدينز، وهما الرواد المعاصرين لعلم الاجتماع في الشمال أو من، زي ما انت عارف، ماركس، أو فيبر، أو دوركهايم – واللي هما الآباء المؤسسين الرسميين لعلم الاجتماع.

والأساليب اللي هيتم اتباعها هتكون مرة تاني، طبعًا مش في كل الحالات لكن في أغلبها، هي الأساليب المكتسبة من أشخاص درسوا في جامعات أمريكية أو أوروبية. فلو انت عايز تعمل مسح أو تحليل نوعي أو أيا كان اللي عايز تعمله، لازم تعمله وفقًا لنموذج المؤسسات الغربية أو النماذج الغربية لعلم الاجتماع واللي بيتم اعتبارها على انها علم الاجتماع الصحيح. وإذا اشتغلت بأي طريقة تانية، هيتم اعتبارك غير صحيح، وهيتم تقييمك بكيفية ما على انك مش عالم  اجتماع حقيقي أو أنك بتعمل حاجة غريبة عن ما هو متفق عليه. ودا مش بينطبق بس على علم الاجتماع لكن على أي مجال آخر، طبعًا هناك استثناءات إذا كان المجال في دراسات ما بعد الاستعمار، ودا ما بيحصلش كتير.

بدأت أجزاء من المعرفة المحلية بالزحف في أجزاء قليلة من الجامعة لكنها مهمشة جدًا جدًا. وفي بعض أبحاث الجامعة، على سبيل المثال، البحوث الطبية الحديثة متلاقيش فيها المعرفة المحلية على الإطلاق.

ويل بريهم: خلينا نتكلم عن بعض المعرفة المحلية أو الطرق الأخرى لاجراء البحوث باستخدام أساليب ونظريات مختلفة عن اللي موجودة في الشمال أو الغرب، وخصوصًا في أوروبا. فهل ممكن أنك توصفلنا بعض من هذه الأساليب البديلة في التنظير أو في استخدام طرق مختلفة عن بورديو ودوركهايم؟

راوين كونيل: طبعًا، وأول حاجة ممكن تقولها هي فكرة أن بناء البحوث أو اجرائها هي متضمنه حديثًا في تشكيل المعرفة المهيمنة. على سبيل المثال، الناس في المجتمعات الأصلية في استراليا، واللي بيتم اعتبارهم على أنهم حاملين للمعرفة، مش بيشوفوا نفسهم عادة كباحثين. لكنهم بيشوفوا نفسهم كحاملين للمعرفة والحكمة والعلم. وفي الواقع بتحتوي معرفتهم على قدر كبير من المعرفة والمعلومات التجريبية والبيانات عن دولتهم، وعن علاقاتهم الاجتماعية، وعن شعبهم. ودا بيكون جزء من معارفهم، لكنه مش منظم في شكل مشروع بحثي حيث تنشر النتائج في مجلات يتم مراجعتها، وما إلى ذلك، وهكذا. عشان كدا لازم نفهم دايمًا أن تكوينات المعرفة هي عمليات وبناءات اجتماعية لها أساس مؤسسي وأن الجامعة الحديثة، مع استثناءات خاصة لكن بشكل عام هذا حقيقة، بيتم تنظيمها مؤسسيًا حول نظام المعرفة بحسب التوجه البحثي اللي بيهيمن عليه الشمال. احنا بنفكر وفقًا لما نسميه “العلم الغربي”.

احنا بنبحث في الممارسات المعرفية المختلفة وأحيانًا في قاعدة مؤسسية مختلفة، إذا اعتقدنا أنها تمثل نوع آخر من تشكيل المعرفة زي المعارف أو العلوم الإسلامية. وهنا احنا بنبحث في تاريخ مؤسسي مختلف لأن كل هذه الأعداد من العلماء المسلمين تشكلوا تاريخيُا في مؤسسات مختلفة عن النموذج الغربي للجامعة، على الرغم أنه كانت هناك محاولات، بالتأكيد، في المئة سنة الأخيرة، لتوليف هذا الأمر في العالم الإسلامي مش في العالم المسيحي.

وفي بعض التعدديات المؤسسية، في هذا النوع من السياق، لو كنت بتبحث في مجتمعات الشعوب الأصلية زي في أمريكا الجنوبية أو استراليا أو جزر المحيط الهادي، هتلاقي نفسك بتبحث في مجموعات مكنش ليها تاريخيُا مؤسسات معرفية كبيرة مثل النموذج الإسلامي أو النموذج الغربي. وهناك بتكون القاعدة المؤسسية للمعرفة أشبه بالمراسيم، أوالتصنيفات العمرية، أو الفئات، أو المجتمعات كشكل مختلف.

ودا هيخلي من الصعب بعض الشيء الخروج من هذه السياقات المجتمعية، وهذا نوع من المعرفة المجردة ممكن نسميها المعرفة الأصيلة أو المحلية للسياقات المجتمعية. كمان نقدر ناخد من هذا إطار ونبدأ في النشر في المجلات الرئيسية في أوروبا أو أمريكا الشمالية. هذا النموذج يبدو أنه لا يصلح أو على الأقل من الصعب للغاية العمل بيه.

ودا مش غير وارد بشكل كامل. في ناس حاولوا يعملوا هذا الأمر، مثلًا، اختيار بعض النظريات من عالم مسلم مثل ابن خلدون من المغرب، شمال غرب أفريقيا، من مئات السنين، كعالم اجتماع كلاسيكي ومحاولة تحليل المشاكل المعاصرة باستخدام المصطلحات اللي كان بيعمل بيها. وفيه البعض عمل كدا بس مش بشكل كبير سواء في البحوث الإسلامية أو التوجه البحثي السائد.

ويل بريهم: اعتقد انه أمر شيق، زي ما انت عارف، أن أحيانًا كتير بنحاول وبنقارن العلوم الغربية مع ما نسميه “العلماء المحليين”، فإذا كانت نفس الشكل، يمكن للشكل دا من المعرفة المحلية يتم اعتباره معرفة غربية، لكن حقيقي هذا معناه أن المعرفة يمكن أن تتشكل وأن اقتصاد المعرفة يمكن أن يعمل بكل أنواع الطرق المختلفة.

راوين كونيل: ولازم لا نفاجأ أبدا، لأن دا كمان حقيقة في دول الشمال. زي ما انت عارف، هذا النظام الرسمي من المعرفة موجود في نظام التعليم على المستوى المتقدم والمنظم في الجامعات والمؤسسات البحثية وما إلى ذلك. لكن كمان هناك أشكال أخرى من المعرفة في مجتمعات دول الشمال. ففي أشكال من المعرفة المحلية وطرق من التفكير وطرق معرفة وأساليب فهم العالم الطبيعي اللي نجدها في المجتمعات الريفية في أوروبا أو شمال أمريكا واللي مش بتتوافق بأي شكل مع مؤسسات المعرفة الرئيسية. علشان كدا احنا لا نتكلم عن الغرب في مقابل باقي دول العالم، على الرغم من وجود علاقات قوية، ولما بتكلم عن اقتصاد المعرفة، أنا مش مجرد بستخدم استعارة، لكن بالفعل هناك تدفقات وتداولات مستمرة للمعرفة كاقتصاد حقيقي. والنموذج الرئيسي لهذا الأمر، واللي تمت الإشار إليه على وجه الخصوص تم بواسطة فيلسوف أفريقي أنا معجب بيه جدُا اسمه بولين هاونتندجي، هو المعرفة.

والمعرفة كاقتصاد عالمي بيتطابق مع الاقتصاد المادي في أن معظم العالم بيعمل كمصدر للمواد الخام للمعرفة اللي بيتم شحنها لدول الشمال، زي بالظبط الوضع في الاقتصاد المادي، زي ما انت عارف أن باقي دول العالم هي مصدر انتاج المعادن والزيوت والمنتجات الزراعية والمحاصيل وما إلى ذلك، واللي بيتم شحنها إلى دول الشمال لاستمرار الحياة هناك.

عشان كدا فيه تدفق للمعلومات عادة ما يكون في شكل مادة خام، إلا أنه في بعض الأحيان بتكون المعلومات دي مُعالجة. ودا شكل من أشكال التنافس اللي بيمتد الآن إلى مدى قدرة منتجي المعرفة في العالم على التحكم في تطوير المعرفة ومعالجتها.

مثلًا، في مجال الإيدز: الباحثون في مجال الطب الحيوي بيهيمنوا على أبحاث الإيدز مع وجود قوي للعلوم الاجتماعية كمان. في الواقع هناك تنافس حاصل في جنوب أفريقيا مثلًا، واللي بيتحمل العبء الأكبر من الإصابة بمرض نقص المناعة في العالم في الوقت الحالي. ولأن نموذج بحوث الطب الحيوي لدول الشمال هو المهيمن، فمجال الايدز دلوقت بيحتوي على تجارب مقننة ومتنوعة تُجرى على أنواع مختلفة من أدوية فيروس نقص المناعة. النموذج القديم لهذه النوعية من الأبحاث كان مكلف جدًا. علشان كدا كانت قوى التمويل الوحيدة إما الحكومات في دول الشمال، زي مركز التحكم في الأمراض في الولايات المتحدة، أو شركات الأدوية في دول الشمال برضو، وكانت رغبتهم بسط السيطرةعلى هذا المجال، طالما بيتم الدفع ليهم. لكن هذه المجموعة من البيانات بالتأكيد بتعتمد على بعض العاملين في مجال المعرفة في جنوب أفريقيا، واللي كانوا بيدّعوا كتير إن خبرتهم ومجهودهم هو أمر أساسي. كان لازم يحظوا بقدر كبير من الأهمية والسيطرة والمسئولية والاعتراف بيهم، وهذا ما حصلوا عليه زمان. عشان كدا دخلوا في نوع من النزاع بخصوص عدم المساواة في انتاج المعرفة  اللي حاصل دلوقت في مجال البحوث الطبية الحيوية. ودا مش مجرد تحدي بين منتجي المعرفة من السكان الأصليين وبين محبي الحكمة، لكن هذا يأتي ضمن إطار البحوث في مجال الطب الحيوي على نطاق واسع وله بعد عالمي بيشترك فيه عدد كبير من اللاعبين ويشمل أشكال كتير من الخبرة في انتاج أشكال المعرفة السائدة.

ويل بريهم: هذا الكلام شبه النموذج اللي استخدمته قبل كدا الخاص بألبرت أينشتاين وعمله في المستعمرات البرتغالية.  

راوين كونيل: بالضبط، ألبرت نفسه لم يذهب هناك. في الواقع هذه قصة جميلة.

أنا مندهش، أحنا مش بنفكر في الفيزياء النووية أو النظرية النسبية أو علم الكونيات وما إلى ذلك على أنها أكثر العلوم الشمالية المجردة والنقية.

في الواقع، ألبرت اللي طور النسخة الأولى من النظرية النسبية، لما كان بيشتغل في سويسرا وبعدها سافر لألمانيا، لما كان بيشتغل على النسبية العامة، نشر أبحاثه الشهيرة في النسبية العامة في منتصف الحرب العالمية الأولى.

ولأن العلم له طابع عالمي أكثر من كونه قومي أو محلي، فهذه الأبحاث تمت قراءتها بواسطة علماء من بريطانيا. ولما ألمانيا انهزمت في الحرب العالمية الأولى، فقدت كل مستعمراتها، فقدت كل شيء. كان العلماء البريطانيون هما اللي اكتشفوا طريقة لاختبار نظرية ألبرت واللي تنبأت بانحراف الضوء عن الجاذبية، وهذا الأمر كان مستحيل في علم الكونيات بحسب نيوتن.

لكن أينشتاين مش بس تنبأ بانحراف الضوء، لكنه كمان اكتشف مقداره المحتمل رياضيًا. وكان العلماء البريطانيين هما اللي فكروا وتنبأوا بقدوم خسوف الشمس، واللي يمكن ملاحظته من جنوب المحيط الأطلسي. عشان كدا أنشأوا مراصد؛ واحد منهم على إحدى الجزر اللي كانت بتحكمها البرتغال على ساحل افريقيا، والتاني على الجانب الآخر من جنوب المحيط الأطلسي في البرازيل، ودي كانت أكبر مستعمرة برتغالية. وبالفعل سجلوا ملاحظاتهم، وألتقطوا الصورة المهمة جدًا لخسوف الشمس، وكمان، بشكل مدهش، التقطوا صور للنجوم القريبة من السطح واللي انطفأ ضوئها بالقرب من سطح الشمس بالظبط زي ما تنبأ أينشتاين. التجربة كانت سبب شهرة أينشتاين عالميًا، وكانت بمثابة معرفة قادمة من عالم الاستعمار وما بعد الاستعمار. ومن غير هذا الاتصال، زي مانت عارف، ما كانش هيتم اختبار النظرية النسبية بهذه الطريقة.

عشان كدا، هذا مثال صارخ للبعد العالمي لما يتم تسميته تقليديًا بالحكمة والعلوم. لكن كتير من مجالات المعرفة اعتمدت بالتأكيد على تدفق المعلومات وبيتبعها شكل معين من الخبره، اللي أحيانًا تكون عملية وأحيانًا أخرى تكون عمل معرفي في دول الجنوب.

اللي احنا فعلًا بصدده هو اقتصاد عالمي للمعرفة، فيه الثروة والقوة مرتكزة في دول الشمال، حيث لاتزال مؤسسات الشمال العالمي دي بتعتمد على تدفق المعلومات من باقي أنحاء العالم بدرجة مذهلة. فكر فيعلم المناخ مثلًا، فكر في كل هذه النماذج المناخية، في الأمور المحورية في الجدال السياسي عن التغير المناخي في العشر أو الخمستاشر سنة اللي فاتت، في رأيك جات منين البيانات؟ قدر كبير منها جاء من دول الجنوب.

ويل بريهم: هل انت شايف أي تيارات مضادة بخصوص تدفق المعرفة؟

راوين كونيل: نعم، دايمًا هناك نزاع حول هذه العمليات. كان دايمًا فيه درجة من الاعتمادية بواسطة الشمال. ودا مش مجرد هيمنة أحادية من الشمال، أو سيناريو تبعية من الجنوب. عشان كدا العلوم الشمالية، أو لو عايز تقول، العلوم اللي بيسيطر عليها الشمال واللي بتتعمل في الجنوب، دايمًا بتعتمد على ممارسات ومعارف ومؤسسات وما إلى ذلك في الجنوب العالمي، علشان كدا هناك نوع من الاعتمادية. كان فيه الكتير من الاستيلاء أو الاستيلاء الجزئي والتغيرات اللي فرضها ما يسمى بالتفكير الغربي، أو المفاهيم أو النظريات أو الأساليب الغربية على الدول اللي كانت تحت التأثير الاستعماري أو شبه الاستعماري. انت عارف أن فيه تاريخ كامل لهذا الأمر في الهند والصين، واللي مكانوش مستعمَرين بشكل مباشر أو شبه مستعمَرين لمدة 50 أو 60 سنة، لكن هناك جيلين كاملين من المفكرين لجأوا لتعديل أنظمة المعرفة الأوربية للاستخدام الصيني، وهو أمر مازال مستمر.

وكان فيه- ودي حاجة كانت محور مناقشتي في كتاب النظرية الجنوبية: عمل نظري مستمر في عالم الاستعمار وما بعد الاستعمار. عشان كدا تكوين المعرفة السائد عنده تقسيم للعمل، واللي فيه بيتم تطوير النظرية والأسلوب في دول الشمال، وبيتم تجميع البيانات من كل مكان في العالم. ودا بيعمل في الحقيقة تجاهل لانتاج المفاهيم والمنهجيات والتحليلات من قبل مفكري العالم المُستعمَر. ولما تدور على دا، واللي بطبيعة الحال مش بتهتم بيه الأبحاث التقليدية في العلوم الاجتماعية، لكن لما تدور عليه هتلاقي هناك أدب غني جدًا في التحليل الاجتماعي من العالم المستعمَر وبعد كدا من عالم ما بعد الاستعمار. عشان كدا هناك تراث غني بالتحليل الثقافي والنقاش في الهند والعالم العربي والعالم الإسلامي بشكل عام. هذا النقاش والتحليل الفكري المذهل، والمنطق الاجتماعي في إيران على سبيل المثال تأثر بالإسلام الشيعي.

وزي مانت عارف، إن أفريقيا في فترة الاستعمار وما بعد الاستعمار وأمريكا اللاتينية، هما مصادر غنية لهذه الأفكار والنظريات والمناقشات عن المجتمع واللي تم تهميشها تاريخيًا من علم الاجتماع الغربي السائد، لكنها موجودة من البداية لتعلن اعتراضها على الوضع الراهن.

عشان كدا هناك دايمًا نزاع بخصوص هذا الأمر، وتزايد النزاع في الوقت الحاضر. أنا أعتقد أنه بالتأكيد في العلوم الاجتماعية عندنا نوع من الحراك اللي بيحصل في علم الاجتماع متزامن مع وقت انهاء استعمار المعرفة في دول الحنوب.

ويل بريهم: هسأل سؤال يبدو أنه غبي شوية، هتلاقي فين الأفكار اللي انت كنت بتتكلم عنها بخصوص النظرية الجنوبية في الهند أو إيران مثلًا؟  يعني؛ هل الأفكار دي موثقة في مجلات بحثية دولية؟ أو هي موجودة في أماكن تانية؟

راوين كونيل: تمام، زي ما بقول دايمًا لتلاميذي مفيش سؤال غبي لكن أحيانًا بتكون الإجابات هي اللي غبية.

ممكن نلاقي بعض هذه الأفكار في مجلات أكاديمية،  لكن مش كتير. ليه؟ لأن المجلات الأكاديمية بتتميز، زي ما انت عارف، انها بتميل للشكل المؤسسي للمعرفة المهيمنة. فإذا بصيت على مجلات العلوم الاجتماعية اللي اتنشرت في الهند أو الصين أو استراليا أو شمال أفريقيا- كمان مرة لأني عالم اجتماعي، فانا عارف كويس المجال دا- هتلاقي بالظبط البناء اللي انا اقترحته قبل كدا، واللي هو النظرية الشمالية مقابل البيانات الجنوبية.

لكن كمان ممكن تقدر تلاقي بعض النزاع حوالين دا، فهتلاقي بعض الكتابات فعلا من مفكرين محليين خرجوا خارج هذا الإطار. لما أنا رحت أبحث على هذا النوع من البيانات، بحثت على نطاق واسع جدًا جدًا في الحقيقة. بحثت خارج المصادر الأكاديمية التقليدية.

زرت محلات الكتب المستعملة وبحثت في المكتبات. بحثت في أنواع الأدب اللي عادةً مش بتكون موجودة في قوائم المراجع المتعارف عليها في المقالات السائدة بخصوص علم الاجتماع. عشان كدا، على سبيل المثال، هناك بعض التحليلات الاجتماعية الشيقة عملها شاب زي “علي شريعتي” في إيران على شكل خطب دينية.

فيها كمية كبيرة من التحليلات الاجتماعية في كتب يمكن اعتبارها جدلية من النحية السياسية.

عندي مثالين لهذا الموضوع من خلال أشخاص مشهورين جدًا في مجالاتهم لكنهم مش معروفين على نطاق واسع في دول الشمال. الأول هو أمبيدكار واللي كان الروح المحركة وراء كتابة الدستور الهندي بعد الاستقلال، هو في الحقيقة شخصية هامة جدًا. نشر تحليل للنظام الطبقي، واللي كان بالمناسبة بينتقد غاندي لأن امبيدكار كان بيعتقد أنه مش جاد في مناهضة النظام الطبقي والاستبعاد الاجتماعي للطبقة الدنيا. وأنا أعتقد أن هذه الوثيقة مهمة من وجهة نظر التحليل الاجتماعي لدراسات التقسيم الطبقي في الواقع. كتابات أمبيدكار اللي أنا بفكر فيها اتكتبت في التلاتينيات. لما تروح لقارة تانية لأفريقيا الجنوبية، ومرة تانية بالرجوع للتاريخ لوقت الحرب العالمية الأولى، هنلاقي كتاب رائع اسمه “الحياة الأصلية في جنوب أفريقيا” كتبه سول بلاتج واتنشر سنة 1916. صول بلاتيج كان أصغر سنًا، وكان معاصر لدوركهايم وويبر. هذا الكتاب مش قصة حقل أفريقي أو أثنوجرافيا وصفية لمجتمع عرقي. لكنه في الواقع تحليل مؤسس على بحث ميداني عن تأثير القوانين اللي أقرتها حكومة جنوب افريقيا المتحدة قبل سنوات قليلة من تسميتها “قانون أراضي السكان الأصليين” واللي كان بيخصص أساسًا أراضي السكان الأصليين للمزارعين والتجار البيض.

دا كان استيلاء على الأراضي بطريقة واسعة وإجبار لأسر السود على ترك أراضي أجدادهم لخلق اقتصاد رأسمالي زراعي مزدهر في جنوب أفريقيا. بلاتج كان سكرتير المنظمة وبعدين أصبح السكرتير العام للكونجرس الأفريقي الوطني، اللي هو الحكومة الحالية لجنوب أفريقيا. وكان بيتجول بالدراجة في كل حته في البلد لأنه مكنش بيمتلك عربية، كان بيعمل بحث ميداني وبيجمع القصص من الأسر اللي تم اجبارها على مغادرة أراضيها، وكان بيدونها في كتابه في ضوء الأوضاع السياسية. هذا الكتاب اتنشر في إنجلترا في محاولة للتأثير على الحكومة البريطانية عشان تلغي القانون دا، لكن للأسف المحاولة لم تنجح.

هذا الكتاب هو بمثابة تحفة رائعة من التحليل والبحث الاجتماعي. أنا اعتقد أنه من كلاسيكيات علم الاجتماع العالمي، اللي انت عمرك ما سمعت عنه في علم الاجتماع السائد، أو التاريخ السائد لعلم الاجتماع لأنه مكتوب في قالب أدبي مختلف في الجزء المستعمَر من العالم بواسطة رجل أسود محدش سمع عنه في علم الاجتماع السائد.

دول مجرد مثالين من مئات الأمثلة اللي ممكن أذكرها. وأنا اعتقد أن اللي بيقدمه حاليًا علم الاجتماع السائد هو فقير جدًا لأنه مش بيوصل لهذه الثروة الهائلة من التحليلات والنظريات والمفاهيم الفكرية الموجودة في العالم المستعمَر وما بعد المستعمَر.

ويل بريهم: من المثير للاهتمام ان حضرتك أظهرت أن هذا موجود تاريخيًا. وكمان في الوقت الحالي، في الكتير من الأعمال الثرية اللي بيتم انتاجها. عشان كدا هل عندك أمل في أن الجامعات اللي بتنتج المعرفة المهيمنة واللي بتعتمد على العلم الغربي انها تتغير وتبدأ تدمج بعض من هذه النظريات الجنوبية، أو المعرفة المحلية، كل الأمثلة المتنوعة اللي حضرتك ذكرتها النهارده؟

راوين كونيل: الموقف مش ثابت، أحيانًا لما بتكون هناك مناقشات بخصوص واحدة من هذه القضايا، بحس أن المؤسسات العلمية المهيمنة ممكن تعمل دا وبالفعل بيبدأوا يهتموا. وأن المؤسسات المختلطة اللي بتجمع بين الشكل الجامعي مع المعرفة المحلية أو مع النظرية الجنوبية أوشكت على الوجود. فمثلًا تم تأسيس مجموعة من الجامعات المحلية في بوليفيا. وكتير من هذه الأنواع من العمل بيحصل في الإكوادور، وكمان في  أوتياروا في نيوزيلاندا.

من حين لآخر بيكون عندنا مناقشة أو مناظرة أو جلسة عامة بخصوص انهاء استعمار المعرفة أو عن توجهات ما بعد الاستعمار في العلوم الاجتماعية في مؤتمر رئيسي. في الواقع أنا رايح الشهر الجاي كمتكلم في لقاء رابطة بلدان الشمال الأوروبي لعلم الاجتماع في فنلندا على وجه التحديد بخصوص هذه القضايا. عشان كدا فيه اهتمام بهذه النوعية من القضايا. لكن على الجانب الآخر، الجامعات أصبحت في بعض النواحي تقليدية أكتر وأفاقها أضيق بسبب دمجها بشكل محكم في الاقتصاد العالمي الليبرالي الجديد، فأصبح التعليم الجامعي كسلعة. هذه الجامعات مثل الجامعة اللي بأعمل فيها بتعمل أكتر وأكتر كشركة لجني الأرباح وأصبحت مهووسة أكتر وأكتر بمكانها في قوائم الاتحادات العالمية. واللي بحسب حكمتها التقليدية هتحدد قدرتها على جذب الطلاب الأجانب اللي بيدفعوا رسوم أعلى، وبالطريقة دي هيكسبوا فلوس أكتر وأكتر. وعشان تظهر في مكانة كويسة في قوائم الاتحادات العالمية للجامعات، لازم تنشر لأشخاص بينشروا في المجلات الرئيسية المرموقة. وفين هذه المجلات الرئيسية المرموقة؟ في أمريكا الشمالية وبريطانيا وفرنسا.

هناك ضغط مؤسسي كبير على الباحثين في الدول مثل أستراليا علشان يركزوا منشوراتهم في منافذ الشمال العالمي، وهذا معناه بالتأكيد إنك لازم تنشر وفقًا لمواثيق المعرفة باستخدام النظريات المألوفة للمحررين والمراجعين لمجلات الشمال العالمي. ودا معناه بالتالي إن النظرية الجنوبية والمعرفة المحلية والشمولية البديلة، كل هذه الأشكال من المعرفة، ملهاش مكان.

هيتم استبعادها من السلع الليبرالية الجديدة للجامعات المتقدمة. عشان كدا هتلاقي نوع من الصراع المستمر. غالبًا هيكون صراع ضمني بين الدوافع الديموقراطية في التعليم وإنتاج المعرفة، وبين قوى النظام الهرمي والسلع والاتفاقيات.

في الواقع أنا بشوف أنه من الصعب جدًا التنبؤ باللي هيحصل. ربما هيكون هناك تقسيم متزايد، فمن جهة هيحصل نوع من تقلص النظام الهرمي الضيق لجامعات النخبة، وعلى الجانب الأخر هتكون هناك استجابات ديموقراطية، لكن نظام التعليم العالي هيكون أقل في موارده. هذا مستقبل محتمل.

 ويل بريهم: احنا بنشكر حضرتك جدًا على انضمامك لينا في برنامج فريش ايد.

راوين كونيل:أنا سعيد أني أكون معكم.

ويل بريهم: إلى اللقاء!!



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Will Brehm:  2:12
Raewyn Connell, bienvenue à Fresh Ed.

Raewyn Connell:  2:15
Je suis heureux d’être ici.

Will Brehm:  2:17
Dans un article récent pour l’Université de Johannesburg, vous avez partagé certaines de vos réflexions sur la décolonisation des connaissances. Pour que vous puissiez décoloniser le savoir, il faut d’abord qu’il soit colonisé. Alors comment voyez-vous la colonisation du savoir ?

Raewyn Connell:  2:40
Eh bien, cela a un nombre de dimensions.

C’est une question très sensible en Afrique du Sud en ce moment parce qu’il y a un mouvement Rhodes Must Fall à l’université du Cap, mais c’est aussi une question qui concerne le monde majoritaire, le monde postcolonial, depuis des générations, en fait. Et c’est un problème, maintenant, bien sûr, en raison de ce qui s’est passé au cours des quatre ou 500 dernières années, avec la création d’empires mondiaux, puis d’une économie mondiale dont le centre se trouve dans les pays riches du Nord. Et en parallèle à ces économies matérielles, si vous voulez, il y a une économie de la connaissance dans laquelle les informations, les concepts, les modes de pensée, les méthodologies, etc. circulent et s’échangent, et qui a été très fortement façonnée par la croissance des empires, et ensuite par l’inégalité comme c’est le cas de l’économie néolibérale. Et c’est à cela que nous faisons référence lorsque nous parlons de la colonisation de la connaissance ou de l’interconnexion, si vous voulez, entre le colonialisme et la mise en place de la connaissance. Nous avons donc maintenant dans le monde une économie de la connaissance de la formation dominante du savoir dans laquelle le monde colonisé a été très important historiquement, mais n’a pas contrôlé ce qui se passe.

Et dans la mesure où les travailleurs intellectuels de la périphérie mondiale ont pu prendre part aux dernières générations, ils ont dû fondamentalement le faire dans les termes qui sont fixés par les institutions de la connaissance du Grand Nord, reflétant leur point de vue sur le monde et leurs expériences historiques. Ainsi, lorsque nous parlons de la décolonisation du savoir, nous parlons des différentes façons dont cette histoire et cette structure massive d’inégalités actuelles sont abordées et contestées et lentement, à petits pas, graduellement modifiées.

Will Brehm:  5:10
Donc, vous dites que les économies de l’empire et du néolibéralisme façonnent ce savoir dominant qui colonise le savoir dans le monde entier.

Raewyn Connell:  5:23
Absolument. Et c’est un point tout à fait familier en fait, dans l’histoire des sciences. Ainsi, si vous lisez, vous connaissez, le Voyage du Beagle de Darwin, par exemple, l’un des documents scientifiques les plus célèbres jamais écrits où le jeune Charles Darwin a fait le tour du monde avec son navire de reconnaissance de la marine britannique et a recueilli des spécimens et fait des observations géologiques. Il a regardé les fameux pinsons des îles Galapagos, a observé les récifs coralliens, et de cette expérience, au cours d’une longue période de réflexion et de maturation, mais dans une mesure très importante, est née la biologie moderne, les théories modernes de l’évolution.

Et vous pouvez conter ce genre d’histoire ou vous pouvez voir des éléments de ce genre d’histoire dans l’histoire de nombreux autres domaines scientifiques, aussi. L’astronomie, par exemple, vous savez, la moitié des cieux, si vous voulez, sont visibles depuis l’hémisphère sud. Les connaissances de l’hémisphère sud ont été très importantes dans certains domaines de l’astronomie. Dans les sciences sociales aussi, et c’est en quelque sorte la première façon dont j’ai compris ce genre de questions parce que je suis sociologue. Quand on regarde l’histoire de la sociologie, on nous donne divers mythes sur la façon dont il s’agissait de la modernisation en Europe, de Weber, de Marx, etc. Mais en fait, si vous regardez les tout premiers jours de la sociologie, il s’agissait très majoritairement des connaissances du monde colonisé qui ont été intégrées dans un récit du progrès au 19e siècle et de ce que j’appelle l’image ou un modèle de la différence globale entre les primitifs et les avancés, mais qui est ensuite devenu le cadre de toute la sociologie moderne jusqu’à l’époque de la première guerre mondiale environ.

Ainsi, la rencontre entre les colonisateurs européens et les sociétés colonisées a été réellement formatrice pour l’histoire de ce que nous appelons à tort la science occidentale. En fait, elle a toujours été une science mondiale, même si au cours des deux derniers siècles, elle a été essentiellement centrée sur les États riches et puissants du Nord.

Will Brehm:  7:56
Et vous avez dit que souvent, les personnes qui créent des connaissances dans le Sud global ou dans les États postcoloniaux, ou même dans les États coloniaux, utilisent le même cadre et les mêmes concepts que ceux développés par les scientifiques occidentaux ou, vous savez ce qu’on appelle, entre guillemets, “les scientifiques occidentaux”. Pouvez-vous nous donner un exemple de ce qui se passe ?

Raewyn Connell:  8:22
Oh, eh bien, si vous souhaitez, vous savez, vous pouvez vous mettre dans n’importe quel pays de la périphérie et regarder autour de vous, et vous le verrez.

Tous les créateurs de connaissances ne font pas cela, mais c’est, si vous voulez, la formation officielle des connaissances dans le système universitaire. C’est ce qui est reconnu comme une science, c’est ce qui est financé par les agences gouvernementales de financement de la recherche, c’est ce que les Chinois ont mis en place en restructurant le système universitaire, vous savez. Je regarde autour de moi l’Université de Sydney, ici en Australie. Et, vous savez, dans toutes les directions, je vois des gens qui font de la recherche, qui développent des connaissances, dans le cadre de méthodes et de théories et de ce qui est observable et de la façon dont vous vous comportez en tant que scientifique, c’est-à-dire, vous savez, quelque chose comme 97% importé d’Europe et d’Amérique du Nord. Et c’est tout à fait typique des institutions officielles du savoir dans le monde. C’est pourquoi je parle de la situation d’hégémonie mondiale dans la formation du savoir.

Donc, je veux dire à nouveau, si je peux mentionner ma propre discipline de sociologie, vous regardez la revue de sociologie locale, elle est intitulée Journal of Sociology et vous savez, l’article typique y est rédigé par un Australien ou quelqu’un de Nouvelle-Zélande de la région. Et il y aura des données d’Australie ou de Nouvelle-Zélande ou de la région que l’article typique dans le journal, mais le reste du cadre théorique dans lequel se fait sera Bourdieu, Foucault, Giddens, les maîtres modernes du Nord global ou, vous savez, Marx, Weber, Durkheim – ce sont les pères fondateurs officiels de la discipline.

Et les méthodes qu’ils appliqueront seront à nouveau, en général pas dans tous les cas, mais dans la plupart des cas, les méthodes seront celles qui ont été acquises auprès de personnes ayant étudié dans des universités américaines ou européennes, qui veulent faire des enquêtes ou des analyses qualitatives ou quoi que ce soit d’autre provenant d’institutions du Nord ou suivant des modèles du Nord considérés comme une véritable sociologie scientifique. Et si vous opérez d’une autre manière, vous êtes considéré comme, vous savez, pas un vrai, vous risquez d’être considéré comme un sociologue pas correct ou faisant quelque chose de bizarre ou d’étranger aux activités réelles de la discipline, Et cela n’est bien sûr pas propre à la sociologie ; c’est vrai dans toutes les disciplines, à l’exception peut-être d’une discipline d’études postcoloniales où cela existe, ce qui n’est pas très souvent le cas.

Et les petits bouts de l’université où des morceaux de savoir indigène commencent à s’insinuer mais qui sont très, très marginalisés et dans certaines parties du travail de l’université, par exemple la recherche biomédicale, vous ne les trouvez pas du tout.

Will Brehm:  11:56
Parlons de certaines connaissances indigènes ou de ces autres façons de mener des recherches en utilisant des méthodologies et des théories différentes de celles que l’on trouve dans le Grand Nord ou à l’Ouest, en particulier en Europe. Pouvez-vous donc décrire certaines de ces manières alternatives de théoriser ou d’utiliser des méthodes différentes de celles de Bourdieu ou de Durkheim ?

Raewyn Connell:  12:24
Oui, eh bien, la première chose que vous diriez est que l’idée même de concevoir ou de mener des recherches est, si vous voulez, ancrée actuellement dans la formation dominante du savoir. Ainsi, par exemple, les membres des communautés indigènes d’Australie, qui sont considérés comme des porteurs de connaissances, ne se considèrent généralement pas comme des chercheurs. Ils se considéreraient comme des porteurs de connaissances, de sagesse, de savoir-faire. Le savoir comprendra en fait une grande partie de connaissances empiriques, d’informations empiriques, de données sur leur pays, sur leurs relations sociales, sur leur peuple qui feront partie de leur savoir, mais il n’est pas organisé sous la forme d’une entreprise de recherche où vous publiez des résultats dans des revues évaluées par des pairs, etc. Nous devons donc toujours comprendre que les formations de connaissances sont des processus sociaux, des constructions sociales, qui avaient une base institutionnelle et que l’université moderne est, à quelques exceptions intéressantes près, mais c’est en grande partie vrai, organisée institutionnellement autour du système de connaissances orienté vers la recherche et dominé par le Nord. C’est pourquoi nous pensons à la “science occidentale”, entre guillemets.

Nous nous intéressons donc à différentes pratiques de connaissance, parfois à différentes bases institutionnelles, si nous pensons, par exemple, qu’il existe un autre type de formation de la connaissance, à savoir le savoir islamique, la science islamique. Nous nous intéressons à une histoire institutionnelle différente parce que, historiquement, les savants islamiques ont été organisés en différents types d’institutions selon le modèle de l’université européenne, bien qu’il y ait maintenant une tentative, bien sûr, ces cent dernières années environ, de synthétiser cela dans le monde islamique, et non dans le monde chrétien.

Et dans certains pluralismes institutionnels, dans ce genre de contexte, si vous observez les communautés indigènes, disons en Amérique du Sud, ou en Australie, ou dans les îles du Pacifique, vous observez des groupes qui n’ont pas historiquement eu de grandes institutions de la connaissance comme le modèle islamique ou européen. Et là, la base institutionnelle de la connaissance est susceptible d’être les cérémonies, les classements par âge, les cohortes, les communautés sous une forme différente.

Il sera donc assez difficile de sortir de ces contextes, une sorte de connaissance abstraite. Étiquettez-le comme connaissance indigène et, disons, d’accord, nous pouvons prendre cela comme cadre et commencer à publier dans des revues européennes ou nord-américaines grand public. Ce modèle ne semble pas fonctionner, ou du moins il est très difficile à faire fonctionner.

Il n’est pas totalement hors de question. Il y a des gens qui ont essayé de le faire, par exemple, en reprenant certaines théories du savant islamique Ibn Khaldoun du Maghreb et de l’Afrique du Nord-Ouest il y a quelques centaines d’années, comme une sorte de théoricien social classique et en essayant de faire une analyse des problèmes contemporains dans le genre de termes qu’il élaborait. Il existe des personnes qui font cela, mais elles ne sont pas très présentes, ni dans le monde de l’érudition islamique ni dans le courant dominant de la recherche.

Will Brehm:  16:48
Je pense qu’il est intéressant que, vous savez, nous essayons souvent de mettre en contraste la science occidentale avec cette citation – entre guillemets, les scientifiques indigènes, si c’est le même genre de, vous savez, corps, ce corps de connaissance qui peut être, vous savez, dans un sens, pris comme la connaissance occidentale, mais vraiment, vous dites qu’il y a toutes sortes de façons différentes dont la connaissance est formée, et les économies de la connaissance fonctionnent.

Raewyn Connell:  17:17
Et cela ne devrait pas nous inquiéter, car c’est également vrai dans le Grand Nord. Vous savez, il existe ce système de connaissances formel dans le système éducatif, organisé au niveau de l’élite dans les universités, les instituts de recherche, etc. Mais il existe aussi d’autres formations de la connaissance dans la société pour le Grand Nord. Il y a des formations de connaissances locales, des façons de penser, des façons de savoir, des façons de comprendre le monde naturel que vous trouvez, par exemple, dans les communautés rurales en Europe ou en Amérique du Nord qui ne correspondent pas de manière simple aux institutions de connaissances traditionnelles. Ce n’est donc pas du tout l’Occident par rapport au reste, bien qu’il y ait des relations de pouvoir, et il y a, quand je parle d’une économie de la connaissance, ce n’est pas exactement une métaphore, je veux dire, il y a en fait des flux et des échanges en cours. Et le schéma principal de cela, qui a été souligné en particulier par le philosophe ouest-africain que j’admire beaucoup et qui s’appelle Paulin Hountondji.

Le modèle dominant de l’économie mondiale est que la connaissance est à peu près la même que dans l’économie matérielle. C’est-à-dire que la majorité du monde sert de source de matières premières, tout comme dans l’économie matérielle, vous savez qu’il existe une production de minéraux, de pétrole, de produits agricoles, de cultures et ainsi de suite, qui est expédiée vers le Grand Nord pour y assurer le mode de vie.

Il existe donc un flux de données généralement assez brutes, parfois plus traitées. Et c’est une forme de contestation qui porte maintenant sur la mesure dans laquelle les producteurs de connaissances de la périphérie mondiale sont capables de contrôler le développement et le traitement des connaissances.

Par exemple, dans le domaine du sida : La recherche sur le sida est désormais dominée par les chercheurs biomédicaux, avec une forte présence des sciences sociales également. En effet, le modèle dominant de la recherche biomédicale du Nord, le SIDA, implique maintenant des essais multivariés très contrôlés et très importants de différentes formes de traitement médicamenteux de l’infection par le VIH. Et l’ancien modèle était que ce type de recherche était très coûteux. Les deux seules puissances de financement à cette échelle sont les gouvernements du Nord, comme le Center for Disease Control aux États-Unis, ou les entreprises pharmaceutiques également du Nord, et elles veulent donc, si vous payez pour cela, le contrôler. Mais ce recueil de données repose absolument sur certains travailleurs du savoir en Afrique australe, qui affirment de plus en plus que leur expertise et leur travail sont essentiels à ce lieu, ce processus. Ils devraient avoir beaucoup, plus de contrôle, de responsabilité et de reconnaissance dans ce domaine, ce qui leur a été accordé par le passé. Ils ont donc une sorte de contestation des inégalités de la production de connaissances qui se produisent dans cette région, si vous voulez, au cœur de la recherche biomédicale. Et ce n’est pas exactement une confrontation entre les connaissances indigènes et les partisans de la sagesse.

Cela s’inscrit dans le cadre général de la recherche biomédicale, mais c’est reconnaître la dimension mondiale de celle-ci, et les multiples acteurs et formes d’expertise sont impliqués dans la production de formes de connaissances courantes.

Will Brehm:  22:08
Il semble assez similaire à l’exemple que vous avez utilisé précédemment sur Albert Einstein et son travail dans les colonies portugaises.

Raewyn Connell:  22:17
Oui, eh bien, Albert lui-même n’y est pas allé. C’est une belle histoire, en fait.

Je me demande, nous ne considérons pas la physique nucléaire ou la théorie de la relativité, la cosmologie et tout le reste comme les choses les plus nordiques, les plus abstraites et les plus pures de la science.

Et en effet, Albert qui a développé la première version de la théorie de la relativité, lorsqu’il travaillait en Suisse, puis est allé en Allemagne, lorsqu’il travaillait sur la relativité générale, a publié ses célèbres articles sur la relativité générale au milieu de la Première Guerre mondiale.

Et étant donné que la science est un peu plus internationale que la politique nationale, c’est ce que lisent les scientifiques en Grande-Bretagne. Et quand l’Allemagne, vous savez, a été vaincue pendant la Première Guerre mondiale, a perdu toutes ses colonies, a tout perdu. Ce sont les scientifiques britanniques qui ont trouvé le moyen de tester la théorie d’Albert, qui prédisait la déviation de la lumière sur la gravité, ce qui était impossible dans la cosmologie newtonienne.

Mais Einstein ne s’est pas contenté de le prédire, il a aussi calculé à quel point cela serait probablement mathématiquement possible. Et ce sont les scientifiques britanniques qui se sont alors dit, aha, l’éclipse solaire à venir, que l’on peut observer depuis l’Atlantique Sud. Ils ont donc mis en place des observatoires, voulant une île contrôlée par les Portugais au large des côtes africaines, et l’autre de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique Sud, au Brésil, qui est la plus grande ancienne colonie portugaise, ont fait leurs observations, ont pris cette très célèbre photo du soleil en train de s’éclipser, et, voilà, l’étoile, les images des étoiles proches de la surface dont la lumière passait près de la surface du soleil a été déviée à peu près autant que la théorie d’Einstein l’avait prédit. C’est cette expérience qui a rendu Einstein célèbre dans le monde entier, et c’est la connaissance qui est venue du monde colonisé et postcolonial. Et sans ce lien, vous savez, la théorie de la relativité ne serait pas testée de cette manière.

C’est donc un exemple assez frappant, si vous voulez, de la dimension mondiale de ce que l’on appelle conventionnellement la sagesse et la science. Mais tant de domaines de la connaissance ont absolument dépendu des flux de données et, derrière eux, une certaine forme d’expertise, parfois pratique, parfois de travail de connaissance dans le Grand Sud.

Ce que nous envisageons réellement, c’est une économie internationale de la connaissance, où la richesse et l’autorité sont centrées dans le Grand Nord, où ces institutions du Grand Nord dépendent encore, dans une mesure assez frappante, des flux de données en provenance du reste du monde. Pensez à la science du climat, pensez à tous ces modèles climatiques, les choses ont été tellement au centre du débat politique sur le changement climatique au cours des 10 à 15 dernières années, vous savez, d’où pensez-vous que les données proviennent, une grande partie vient du Sud.

Will Brehm:  26:01
Voyez-vous donc des contradictions dans le flux de connaissances ?

Raewyn Connell:  26:06
Oui, écoutez, il y a toujours eu une contestation de ces processus. Il y a toujours eu un degré de dépendance du Nord. Il ne s’agit pas d’un simple scénario de domination du Nord, de subordination du Sud. Donc la science du Nord, si vous voulez, la science contrôlée par le Nord et opérant dans le Sud, a toujours dépendu des pratiques, des connaissances, des institutions, etc. du Grand Sud, donc il y a une sorte de dépendance. Il y a eu beaucoup d’appropriations, d’appropriations partielles et de changements de ce qu’on appelle la pensée occidentale, les concepts, les séries et les méthodes occidentales dans les pays qui étaient sous influence coloniale ou semi-coloniale. Vous savez, il existe toute une histoire de cela en Inde, il existe toute une histoire de cela en Chine, qui n’a pas été directement colonisée ou quasi-colonisée pendant 50 ou 60 ans, et où toute une paire de générations d’intellectuels, vous savez, s’occupent d’adapter les systèmes de connaissance européens à l’usage des Chinois, ce qui se fait toujours.

Et il a existé – et c’est un point sur lequel je centre ma discussion dans le livre “Southern Theory” – des travaux théoriques qui se poursuivent dans le monde colonisé et postcolonial. Ainsi, bien que la formation des connaissances traditionnelles soit divisée en deux, la théorie et la méthode étant élaborées dans le Nord , la collecte de données se fait à la périphérie du monde. En fait, cela revient à ignorer la production de concepts, de méthodologies et d’analyses par les intellectuels du monde colonisé. Et quand vous allez la chercher, ce que, bien sûr, la plupart des recherches conventionnelles en sciences sociales ne font pas, mais quand vous allez la chercher, il y a une littérature vraiment riche d’analyses sociales du monde colonisé et ensuite du monde postcolonial. Il existe donc une importante tradition d’analyse et de débat culturels en Inde, dans le monde arabe et, plus généralement, dans le monde islamique. Ces débats et analyses intellectuels fascinants, le raisonnement sociologique en Iran, par exemple, sont influencés par l’Islam chiite.

Et, vous savez, dans l’Afrique colonisée et postcoloniale, en Amérique latine, je veux dire que c’est une source riche de ces idées, théories et débats sur la société qui a été historiquement marginalisée des sciences sociales dominantes, mais qui sont là, et au tout début pour contester la situation actuelle.

Alors oui, écoutez, il existe toujours une controverse à ce sujet. Il y a probablement plus de contestation maintenant. Je pense qu’il y a certainement un mouvement en cours dans les sciences sociales au moment de la décolonisation, du genre de la perspective du Sud. Ce n’est pas encore devenu une forme de pensée dominante dans les sciences sociales. Mais elle est certainement très présente en ce moment.

Will Brehm:  30:17
Cela peut sembler une question stupide, mais où trouveriez-vous les idées dont vous parliez en termes de théorie du Sud, par exemple en Inde ou en Iran ? Par exemple, ces idées se trouvent-elles dans des revues de recherche nationales ? Ou apparaissent-elles dans d’autres endroits ?

Raewyn Connell:  30:40
Eh bien, comme je le dis à mes élèves, aucune question n’est stupide. Mais parfois, les réponses le sont.

Vous pouvez en trouver dans les revues académiques, mais pas beaucoup. Pourquoi ? Parce que les revues académiques sont caractéristiques, vous savez, des formes institutionnelles de la formation dominante du savoir et de la tendance à, vous savez, si vous regardez, encore une fois, parce que je suis un spécialiste des sciences sociales, je connais mieux ce domaine, si vous regardez la revue de sciences sociales publiée en Inde ou en Chine ou en Australie ou en Afrique du Sud, vous trouverez généralement cette structure que j’ai suggérée auparavant qui est la théorie du Nord, les données du Sud.

Mais vous pouvez aussi trouver des controverses à ce sujet, vous pouvez trouver des écrits, vous trouverez en fait des écrits sur des intellectuels locaux qui sont sortis de ce cadre. Quand j’ai cherché ce genre de matériel, j’ai cherché très, vous savez, très largement en effet. Je suis allé bien au-delà des sources universitaires conventionnelles.

J’ai fréquenté des librairies de seconde main. J’ai parcouru les bibliothèques. J’ai cherché des genres qui n’apparaîtraient pas, vous savez, normalement dans la bibliographie d’un article de revue de sciences sociales. Ainsi, par exemple, une analyse sociale vraiment très intéressante d’un type comme Ali Shariati en Iran se présente sous la forme d’un sermon.

Il existe une quantité considérable d’analyses sociales dans des livres qui pourraient être considérés comme politiquement controversés.

Permettez-moi de vous citer deux exemples de personnes très célèbres dans leur propre région, mais peu connues dans le Nord. L’un d’eux est Ambedkar, qui a été l’âme dirigeante de la rédaction de la constitution indienne après l’indépendance, un personnage très important. Il a publié une analyse du système de castes, qui était d’ailleurs très critique à l’égard de Gandhi, dont Ambedkar pensait qu’il ne voulait pas vraiment contester le système de castes et l’exclusion sociale de la caste inférieure. Et je pense que c’est un document très intéressant du point de vue de l’analyse sociale des études de stratification en fait. Allez sur un autre continent, l’Afrique australe, et revenons encore une fois à l’histoire – les écrits d’Ambedkar auxquels je pense ont été écrits dans les années 1930 – remontez jusqu’à l’époque de la Première Guerre mondiale, il existe un livre remarquable intitulé Native Life in South Africa écrit par Sol Plaatje et publié en 1916. Sol Plaatje était plus jeune, contemporain de Durkheim et de Weber. Ce livre n’est pas l’histoire d’une ferme africaine ou l’ethnographie d’une communauté indigène. Il s’agit en fait d’une analyse basée sur une recherche sur le terrain de l’impact des lois adoptées par le gouvernement de l’Union sud-africaine quelques années auparavant, appelées Natives Land Act, qui consistait essentiellement à s’approprier des terres indigènes pour les agriculteurs commerciaux blancs.

Ainsi, il s’agit d’un coup d’État massif qui force les familles noires de leurs terres ancestrales à créer une économie capitaliste agricole prospère en Afrique du Sud. Plaatje a été le secrétaire de l’organisation et est devenu plus tard le Congrès national africain, c’est-à-dire l’actuel gouvernement d’Afrique du Sud. Il a parcouru le pays à bicyclette, car il ne possédait pas de voiture, et a effectué un travail de terrain, recueillant les récits des familles qui ont été forcées de quitter leurs terres et les a consignés dans son livre, ainsi qu’un compte-rendu des processus politiques impliqués. Le livre a été publié en Angleterre pour tenter d’influencer le gouvernement britannique afin qu’il passe outre à cette législation, ce qui n’a manifestement pas été le cas.

C’est une magnifique analyse sociale et une recherche sociale. C’est vraiment, je pense, le classique de la sociologie mondiale. Vous n’en entendez jamais parler dans la sociologie dominante, dans l’histoire de la sociologie dominante, vous savez, parce qu’elle est écrite dans un genre différent dans une partie colonisée du monde par un Noir, dont personne dans le courant dominant n’a jamais entendu parler.

Ce ne sont là que deux exemples que je pourrais citer par centaines et il me semble que ce qui existe actuellement en tant que science sociale dominante est terriblement pauvre, parce qu’elle n’a pas accès à cette énorme richesse d’analyses, de théories, de concepts et de données qui existe dans le monde colonisé et postcolonial.

Will Brehm:  37:00
Et il est intéressant que vous ayez montré qu’elle existe historiquement. Et aussi dans le moment présent, il y a beaucoup de travail qui se fait. Alors, avez-vous l’espoir que les universités qui produisent le savoir dominant, c’est-à-dire, entre guillemets, la science occidentale ? Espérez-vous que ces institutions vont changer pour commencer à intégrer davantage cette théorie du Sud ou les connaissances indigènes, tous les différents exemples dont vous avez parlé aujourd’hui ?

Raewyn Connell:  37:36
Je dois dire que je souffle le chaud et le froid sur ce sujet. Parfois, vous savez, lorsqu’une discussion sur certaines de ces questions a lieu, je pense, oui, les institutions traditionnelles peuvent le faire et commencent à y prêter attention et, vous savez, des institutions hybrides qui combinent, disons, la forme universitaire avec le savoir indigène ou avec la théorie du Sud sont en train de voir le jour. Ainsi, par exemple, un groupe d’universités indigènes a récemment été fondé en Bolivie. Et je sais qu’il y a d’autres travaux de ce type en Équateur et qu’il y a des travaux similaires en Aotearoa/Nouvelle Zélande.

Ainsi, de temps à autre, nous organisons un panel, un débat ou une session plénière sur la décolonisation des connaissances, les perspectives postcoloniales en sciences sociales dans le cadre d’une conférence générale. En réalité, le mois prochain, je vais justement parler de ces questions lors de la réunion de l’Association sociologique nordique en Finlande. Elles suscitent donc de l’intérêt. D’un autre côté, les universités deviennent d’une certaine manière plus conventionnelles et plus étroites à mesure qu’elles s’intègrent plus étroitement dans l’économie mondiale néolibérale, comme le montre le fait que l’enseignement universitaire est plus marchand. Les universités, comme la mienne, fonctionnent de plus en plus comme une entreprise à but lucratif et sont de plus en plus obsédées par leur place dans les classements mondiaux.

Et qui, selon les idées reçues, déterminera leur capacité à attirer des étudiants étrangers payants et donc à obtenir beaucoup, beaucoup d’argent. Et pour bien figurer dans les classements mondiaux, il faut avoir publié, des gens qui publient dans les revues les plus prestigieuses. Où se trouvent les plus prestigieuses revues grand public ? En Amérique du Nord, en Grande-Bretagne et en France.

Les chercheurs de pays comme l’Australie sont donc soumis à une pression institutionnelle assez forte pour qu’ils concentrent leurs publications sur les revues du Nord, ce qui signifie bien sûr que vous devez publier dans le cadre des conventions de la connaissance en utilisant les théories et les méthodes qui sont familières aux rédacteurs et aux évaluateurs des revues du Nord, ce qui signifie que, vous savez, la théorie du Sud, les connaissances indigènes, les universalismes alternatifs, toutes ces formations de la connaissance – Autres formations de la connaissance – ne sont nulle part.

Au fur et à mesure des avancées de la marchandisation néolibérale de ces universités, elles seront écartées. Alors, regardez, il y a une lutte en cours. Il s’agit souvent d’une lutte implicite entre les impulsions démocratiques, ce que je considère comme tel, dans l’enseignement et la production de connaissances, et les forces de la hiérarchie, de la marchandisation et des conventions de l’autre côté.

Et en réalité, vous savez, j’ai beaucoup de mal à prédire ce qui va se passer. Il se peut qu’il y ait une scission croissante, une sorte de rétrécissement du corps obsédé par la hiérarchie étroite des universités élitistes d’une part, et des réponses plus démocratiques, mais un système d’enseignement supérieur moins bien doté en ressources d’autre part. C’est un avenir possible.

Will Brehm:  41:55
Eh bien, Raewyn Connell, merci beaucoup d’avoir rejoint FreshEd.

Raewyn Connell:  41:59
Je suis heureux d’être ici.

Translation sponsored by NORRAG.

After her interview, Will Brehm wanted to ask Raewyn an additional question. In this online exclusive, we re-print their email exchange in full below the fold.

On July 29, Will wrote:

Dear Raewyn,

I hope you are doing well. I finally finished editing your show, which will air on Monday. The rough cut is attached here for your listening pleasure. Let me know what you think. I’ll be sure to send you the links to the show once it’s up. I’ll also link to your website in the blog post that will accompany the show.
While listening to the show again, I thought of a question I wish I had asked you. I’ll ask it here, but please don’t feel the need to respond!
I was schooled in the USA from pre-K to masters degree. I then did my PhD at the University of Hong Kong. That school was built by British colonialists. My dissertation research looked at private tutoring in Cambodia. I went to that country, collected my empirical data and then flew back to Hong Kong (or Melbourne, where I also lived) to analyze and write up my findings, using some old guy’s social theory (Henri Lefebvre). In other words, I embody all that you talked about in terms of the dominate way knowledge is produced and flows. I’m stereotypical. So, what advice would you have for someone like me who completely understands the points you make but has a particular history that is hard to escape? How can I resist re-producing the mainstream knowledge?
Thanks again for talking. I had a wonderful time — and learned a lot!
Have a great weekend!
On July 30, Raewyn responded:

Thanks Will, I’ve had a listen, and you’ve made it sound very good!

Sorry I didn’t have some more colourful detail for you.  I think that when I’m lecturing on these topics, I rely a good deal on visuals for the concrete detail and the laughs.  So with audio, I need to find another way to do this.  Any advice you have will be welcome.

Thinking about your question, that was true for me too.  I was brought up in a completely Anglocentric school system, that didn’t even use the arrival of millions of postwar migrants to diversify. I did two university degrees in much the same way.  My PhD, for instance, combined Australian data (collected by me) with theory from an old white guy in Europe (Jean Piaget).

It’s taken me a long time to work some way out of that.  The best advice I can give, really, is to go looking.  I wrote the book “Southern Theory” to encourage people to do that, by telling the stories of some intellectuals and some of their ideas around the global South.

So, for instance, if you are concerned about commodification and neoliberalism, go looking for what intellectuals in India, Mexico, Brasil and Egypt have been saying about it.  Or if you are interested in the short story as a genre, go looking for African short story writers.  Or if you are thinking about environment, find out what Indian feminists or African fishers have been saying about it.

It will take a while, because the knowledge economy (especially databases on the Internet) is not set up for that.  You may need to ask for advice as well as search online – ask colleagues and other people in the region what you should read.  I found some wonderful texts just by haunting bookshops.

In time that will lead you, at a second level, to thinking about the broader, underlying issues that are preoccupying thinkers in the South, or in particular parts of the South.  These issues may be quite different from the issues you began with, and the Northern-origin frameworks you are familiar with.

A current example is the discourse about “trans”.  In the USA, very much influenced by post-structuralism and queer theory, writers about transgender issues have been talking for the last two decades about fluid identities, contesting binary norms, individual rights to self-expression, etc.  And because that’s what’s said in the USA, that’s what circulates globally.  But when I have talked to transsexual women and transgender people in global-South contexts, those are not the issues that mainly concern them.  What concerns them mostly is poverty, violence, housing, family conflict, hostile police – basically, issues of personal and social survival in the local gender order.  It’s a different story.

Best wishes, Raewyn

Can film help us understand educational phenomena? My guest today, David Cole, has co-written a new book called A Pedagogy of Cinema. By analyzing images in various films, he attempts to produce philosophical insights into education systems dominated by a digitalized, corporatized, and surveillance-controlled world.

David Cole is an Associate Professor in Education at Western Sydney University, Australia and the leader of the Globalisation theme in the Centre for Educational Research.

Does privilege have sensory dimensions? Our guest today is Howard Prosser, lecturer at Monash University’s Faculty of Education, who recently co-edited a volume entitled In the Realm of the Senses: Social Aesthetics and the Sensory Dynamics of Privilege (Springer 2015). This volume won an honorable mention in the 2015-2016 Globalization and Education Special Interest Group book award.

Together with Johannah Fahey and Matthew Shaw, Dr. Prosser argues that “within elite schools there is a relationship between ‘complex sensory and aesthetic environments’ and the construction of privilege within and beyond the school gates. Understanding the importance of the visual to ethnography, the social aesthetics of the elite schools studied in this volume are captured through the inclusion of a series of visual essays that complement the written accounts of the aesthetics of privilege. The collection also includes a series of vignettes that further explore the sensory dimension of these aesthetics: touch, taste—though metaphorically understood— sight and sound. These varying formats illustrate the aesthetic nature of social relations and the various ways in which class permeates the senses. The images from across the different schools and their surroundings immerse the reader in these worlds and provide poignant ethnographic data of the forces of globalization within the context of elite schooling.”

Dr. Prosser spoke with FreshEd contributor Rolf Straubhaar.

Competition within and across universities is so common that it may not seem like a big deal. Professors compete for tenure. Students compete to get into a best universities. And universities compete for rankings.

But where does this competition come from and what effects is it having on higher education systems?

My guest today is Prof. Rajani Naidoo, professor in higher education management at the University of Bath. She recently edited a special issue of the British Journal of the Sociology of Education looking at what she calls the “competition fetish” in higher education. The special issue, which comes out later this year, brings together articles that show the varieties of competition and the various ways actors channel, reproduce, internalize and secure competition logics. Some of the articles address the consequences of competition.

Prof. Naidoo presented some of the ideas discussed here in her Worldviews lecture. 

Citation: Naidoo, Rajani, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 20, podcast audio, July 21, 2016.

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Educational transfer or policy borrowing is one of the major topics in comparative education. When I spoke with Rattana Lao in episode 7 of FreshEd, we discussed the ways in which a culture of borrowing has emerged in Thailand’s educational quality assurance system.

On today’s show, I continue the conversation on educational transfer and policy borrowing with Jason Beech, a professor in the School of Education at the University of San Andrés in Buenos Aires.  Jason critiques the very terms of educational transfer, suggesting the language we use is limited. Why, he asks, is it that the focus is always on policy and not other aspects of education? And has the very notion of globalization lost its cutting edge in terms of theory and method?

Instead of using grand narratives of domination or resistance, Jason uses relational notions of space, which I have talked about on other shows with Marianne Larsen and Jane Kenway. New spatial thinking provides Jason a language to think through new theoretical approaches to educational transfer. In an article co-written in 2015 and published in the journal Globalization, Societies, and Education, Jason uses the case of the one laptop per child scheme in Argentina and actor-network theory to show how material and non-material actors create educational space and new vocabularies for educational transfer.