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Today Raewyn Connell returns to FreshEd to talk about her new book, The Good University. In it, Raewyn takes a deep dive into the labor that makes a university possible while also detailing the main troubles the institution currently faces.

She argues that a good university must work for the social good rather than for profit. It must embrace its democratic roots and protect the process of being truthful.

Raewyn Connell is Professor Emerita at the University of Sydney. She is an active trade unionist and advocate for workers’ rights, student autonomy and educational reform.

Photo by Peter Hall

Citation: Raewyn, Connell, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 157, podcast audio, June 3, 2019. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/raewynconnell2/

Will Brehm  1:30
Raewyn Connell, welcome back to FreshEd.

Raewyn Connell  1:31
I’m very glad to be here.

Will Brehm  1:33
So, congratulations on your new book. And just halfway through this book, when I was reading it, you tell this wonderful story about this famous Jacaranda tree at the University of Sydney. And I want to just ask, what made this tree so famous? And why did you end up writing about it?

Raewyn Connell  1:48
Well, it’s a very beautiful tree. It has lovely purple flowers, and it’s absolutely covered in blossom at a certain time of year, which happens to correspond with when graduations are held. So, for many years, since the invention of color photography, all the graduates would go and stand in front of the tree in their robes and get the photographs at the end of their degree. And it’s all in front of this sort of mock Gothic sandstone building in golden stone. It’s a lovely picture. Well, a few years ago, five or perhaps eight years ago, the University began including in its advertising, a picture of a tutorial group -a discussion group- sitting on the lawn in front of this tree in full bloom. And that was a lovely picture for advertising with the mock Gothic building behind suggesting how ancient and venerable the University was. Unfortunately, it wasn’t true for two reasons: one, no tutorials are allowed to meet on that lawn. Two, the tree actually blossoms after tutorials are over. So, the thing was a fake! And it seemed to me that that somehow represented what was happening in universities as they became more commercialized. There was more fakery and misrepresentation. And just a couple of years after that image was used in the advertising, the tree died. Now, no biologist among my friends would agree that the tree died of shame but one suspected, and that somehow to me symbolized that the university in some sort of crisis. Yeah, universities in general. Well, by corporate standards, there’s no crisis. You know, the higher education industry is booming. There are now more than 200 million university and college students around the world. The flow of fees and money into the system is bigger than ever before. So, from a profit-making and corporate growth perspective, we’re doing wonderfully in universities. But, by other standards, there are terrible problems. I mean the casualization of academic labor force, virtual end of the prospect of a career for very large numbers of university teachers, the growing level of distrust and antagonism between workforce in universities and the managers, the growing level of inequality within universities just in sheer money terms, the level of anger that you see in conflicts in universities now, and of course, the decline of government support for higher education in most parts of the world, not quite all, which escalates in some countries like Hungary -it’s a famous example recently- of outright attacks by government on the university sector -at any rate, parts of it- showing a kind of political antagonism to good higher education, which is very disturbing, indeed. And in that kind of sense, yeah, there is a crisis that’s bubbling/boiling up around us.

Will Brehm  5:25
Yeah, I mean, I’ve seen photos of many years ago, protests in Chile, just recently, protests in Brazil. Even in the UK, there’s been these mass protests of university lecturers fighting for basically better pensions and better wages and trying to resist this sort of corporatization of the university. So where do we begin? If this is this crisis that we see -and in your book, you basically start by looking at the foundations of the university, and really focus on the massive amount of labor that universities do in a way. All the different types of people that make a university possible require huge amounts of labor. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, what sort of labor actually happens based on your long career in universities?

Raewyn Connell  6:17
Well, what I do in the first chapters of the book is show how research, the production of knowledge, has to be understood as a form of work -a complex and intricate kind of work, but work nevertheless, with a workforce in certain conditions. And the same for teaching too. Education involves a form of labor by the teachers and by the students for that matter. And we have to understand the circumstances in which this work is done, the relationships that shape the work in order to understand the production of knowledge and the educational process itself. Now as the universities have got more commercialized and commodified, this labor has been changing. And the conditions of this labor has been changing. So, the academic work: Well, there’s a much higher level of casualization and insecurity for academic workers, as more of the face-to-face teaching is done by people in insecure, short-term jobs. The role of academics in longer term jobs has also changed. They’ve become a kind of middle management group responsible for organizing a casualized, insecure workforce. There’s been an intensification of labor. This is not unusual in today’s economy. That’s true in other industries as well. But it’s quite striking in academic work. The growth of a long hours culture, the decline of the sense that you have time to sit and think and look around, read around and come up with fundamental new ideas -this is now harder simply because of the change in the kind of work. And there’s more control over academic labor via audits and measurement, and management surveillance. Even a simple decision, like when you’ve done some research, you’ve written an article about it, where you publish it, that used to be your own decision as to where you should publish it to reach the audience who needed to know. No! That doesn’t apply anymore. There are now management pressures to publish only in high-prestige journals in the most central countries in the world, and so forth. So, that’s a very significant set of changes in academic labor. And for non-academic workers, what I call the operations workers, who are half the workforce of universities, the work also has been changing -sometimes in the same ways. There’s more sort of surveillance and control from above, so fewer people are just trusted to get on with a job, assume that they know what their job is, and they should get on with it -there’s less and less of that. More surveillance, more auditing. But there’s also more outsourcing of work in universities. That is, workers who actually work for the university, but are not employed by the university, rather employed by another company, which has a contract with the university management and that changes relationships in universities too as it would in any place where that kind of thing happened. Because people working in an outsourced basis for another company don’t have rights, don’t have recognition on campus, are not likely to be there long-term so they can’t develop long-term relationships with the teaching or research staff, and there’s just less of the basic, ground-level know-how on which universities have depended in order to work effectively as organizations. So, more control concentrated at the top means less effective work down below. And that has been happening on a large scale in universities.

Will Brehm  10:25
And has there been any consequences or impacts on student learning? I mean, this seems to be a major function of the university. So, with these various reforms, with this corporate-style management, this power residing at the top in these administrations, what effect on the student?

Raewyn Connell  10:42
Two things: One, because corporate management drives for lower wage costs, lower labor costs, they’re terribly interested in technologizing university teaching. So, MOOCs are the classic example of that, the massive online open courses, which have something like a 90% dropout rate, I mean they’re quite stunning. But in other ways too, the learning experience is more computerized, more technologized, therefore, more -and this is the other side of it- in various ways more formalized. So, we have more frequent and technologically controlled testing. There’s less scope for ambitious but out of the way learning practices by the students. They’re more, sort of on a prescribed path all the time. I can remember -this is, you know, I’m now one of the older generation very much. When I was an undergraduate doing a history program, we actually had two years in the middle of the degree with no exams at all. We had an exam at the end of the two, but for two years, we could pursue our own learning interests, we had to attend courses, lectures, tutorials, and so forth. But we weren’t tested. And, you know, modern students, I think -and this applies to schools, as well as universities- are tested to within an inch of their lives sometimes. And I think that really degrades the kind of learning experience that a university should be.

Will Brehm  12:25
So, one of the things you mentioned earlier was that there’s something like 200 million students enrolled in higher education around the world. And in a way, this is very much a massification of higher education. So many more people today are going to university than say 50 years ago. And we talked-

Raewyn Connell  12:45
-and that’s a good thing.

Will Brehm  12:46
Right. That’s a good thing. And universities often talk about this in terms of equity, and diversity, and opportunity, and enlarging that student base. But in your book, you start calling the university sort of “privilege machines”. You talk about how they actually produce inequality. And so, I wanted to know, in your mind, how are universities complicit in the production of inequality?

Raewyn Connell  13:08
Hmm. Well, universities have always been connected with privilege and power throughout their history. So, a phrase like “a college man”, a bit out of date now but it used to be an expression which signaled leisure and money among young people. Well, as the university system has expanded, it’s also become more unequal in itself. So, we’ve now got this massive hierarchy of universities from the very well-funded privileged institutions down to a worldwide mass of higher education institutions, colleges, universities, called different things in different places. And that’s symbolized by the league tables that are now published, you know, with Harvard on top, and MIT and Stanford up there at the top, and your local community college way down at the bottom. Now, the biggest part of the expansion, very recently, has been in privately owned, for-profit universities. That’s now a large sector worldwide. And I would emphasize the for-profit part because what these kinds of colleges sell, basically, is vocational training. They do hardly any research, that’s not their game and they have a very casualized workforce so that you’re not getting a high quality of educational thinking there because people don’t have time and opportunity to do that thinking. But you do have connections with local industries, local businessmen, who are often on the boards, and even involved in developing the curricula of those kinds of colleges. So, what you’re getting then, is an apparent mass expansion but also a change in the character of most higher education as that expansion occurs, which becomes a thinning out of the university or the college experience and a commodification of what it’s taken to be. So, the advertising, the marketing of the for-profit private colleges, is all about what this ticket you’re getting should yield you in terms of future income. Now that benefit often doesn’t happen because labor markets themselves are changing, and the meaning of qualifications in labor markets change. But that’s the way universities, on a mass scale, are now sold. I’m entirely in support of professional education. I think that’s a correct business of universities, and there I differ from some other critics who criticize the idea of professional education. I think that’s a central role of universities. But professional education itself should be an intellectual proposition, it should be involve thinking carefully and at length about the ethics, about the social meaning of the profession that you’re going into, it should involve understanding the clients that your profession is going to meet, so it truly involved social sciences, philosophy, humanities, other technical areas -all of those kinds of knowledges should be involved in good professional education. And I think that is being thinned out now in a very worrying way.

Will Brehm  16:48
So, I guess the obvious question then is, what can be done? What does a university look like that doesn’t embrace this corporate management, doesn’t embrace these sort of for-profit logics that many universities are around the world today? Like, what’s the alternative in a way?

Raewyn Connell  17:05
Well, there are multiple alternatives. It’s not a single blueprint that we should be following. That’s part of my critique of the “league table” mentality that assumes we all want to be like Harvard and we don’t frankly. So, one thing then is diversity. Multiplicity of purposes, and styles, and approaches to teaching, and knowledge. There are multiple knowledge systems in the world. We’ve talked about that kind of thing before. It should be part of the universities thinking. Universities now model hierarchy and even propagandize in favor of inequality. All this jargon that comes out about “excellence” really gets up my nose!

Will Brehm  17:58
I don’t know what it even means!

Raewyn Connell  18:00
It’s just a signifier of inequality, basically. And also, the nonsense that comes out about leadership. Leadership, for what for heaven’s sake! in what direction? Well, I think there is a direction which we should be leading and that’s democracy, and public service, and that doesn’t need hierarchies and league tables for heaven’s sake! Talk about self-satirizing university systems, they’re now developing league tables for public service!

Will Brehm  18:39
So how can a university be democratic? How can that ideal be embraced inside a university?

Raewyn Connell  18:45
Well, parts of it is already there. We do know how to run institutions democratically. And that’s what you know, the last 200 years of global history has taught us. There are ways of doing that. So, we have leaderships that are elected, we have forms of responsibility, from top-down and bottom-up, rather than just one way. We diversify the membership of institutions, we take steps to make social inclusion real rather than simply symbolic and selective. We can’t have a democratic education and a democratic knowledge system in an authoritarian institution, it doesn’t work.

Will Brehm  19:34
So, what would that mean? That would mean giving more power to the professors to make decisions to drive the direction of the university, than the central management?

Raewyn Connell  19:43
More power to the whole of the workforce. Remember that half of the workforce of universities are non-academic and they also have know-how and commitment and ideas and should be part of the governing process of the institution. I mean, what I’m talking about is, you know, you can put in the phrase, ‘industrial democracy’, we know how to do that. We’ve done it in cooperatives, in mainstream industries, we do know how to do that kind of thing. It’s not rocket science. But we have been shifting away from those ideas in higher education, as in other industries recently, and there’s a struggle on our hands, I think. The other thing to remember is that at the core of the modern university is a system of knowledge, which I call the ‘research-based knowledge formation’. So, research is central to the knowledge on which we build our curricula, on which we base our professional practices, and which we give to the world at large, is what universities offer. And there’s a democratic core in research, actually. I mean, we don’t necessarily represent it that way because we give Nobel prizes, to a very few top scientists, or the media will drool over the professor with the furthest away galaxy, or the latest cure for cancer. But in fact, research knowledge is a democratic theme in itself. It’s produced by a whole workforce, not just by individual stars. Particular research programs involve research teams, not, in most cases, individual stars. Or the individual stars are standing for teams of 20, 30, 100 people. And they depend on other teams and other researchers. The term publication, which has become a kind of sight of tension and horror for young academics, is actually a sign of that democratic character of knowledge. We put our knowledge out there when we publish. We put it out there for everyone to see, and for other people to build on. That’s the whole point of publication.

Will Brehm  22:08
Yeah, its publication, not ‘priva-cation’.

Raewyn Connell  22:11
Exactly, exactly! And we’re building in the knowledge system, that universities depend on and produce, we’re building a “knowledge commons”. We’re building a common social resource in research-based knowledge. So, there’s a democratic element at the very heart of universities, which is not necessarily immediately obvious, but it’s there. And we can build on it.

Will Brehm  22:39
And it’s particularly not obvious when, you know, Elsevier and Wiley and Sons, and Taylor and Francis are owning that knowledge commons. And it sort of does take that public out of publication.

Raewyn Connell  22:52
Yeah, that’s a classic example of the harm that’s done by privatization, I think. And it is being resisted. There’s quite a strong movement now to reverse that by open access policies on the part of funders, by a kind of movement among academics towards open access for other ways of circulating knowledge that don’t run into those monetary barriers. That’s a hot topic in universities now and I’m very glad to see that kind of struggle going on.

Will Brehm  23:29
So, the beginning of our talk today, you talked about this sort of fake image that the University of Sydney was promoting, and it sort of gets to this idea of truth. And this idea of, what is the role of the universities in being truth?

Raewyn Connell  23:46
Yeah. I should say that I’m not particularly blaming the University of Sydney. I mean, that’s just where I happen to be. And I happened to know that tree from a long time, because I’m also a graduate of this university. But what the University of Sydney was doing was what the University of Melbourne is doing, the University of Queensland is doing, what all the universities in the country in one way or another have been doing, and internationally too. So, I was trying to give an example of something that is, in fact global, as a problem. And why I think that’s significant is that universities do have a cultural role. I mean, they’re not -the corporation famously has, there’s a lovely saying, by Lord Chancellor of England in the 18th century, that “a corporation has no body to be kept, and no soul to be damned therefore it can do as it likes”. And that is pretty much the attitude of the mainstream corporation. And as universities approach the status of money-making corporations which indeed, some of them now are 100% that, they inhabit that kind of situation. And the problem is that universities DO have a soul. And that soul concerns truth. It’s the cultural commitment to telling the truth. And anyone who has done research, you know, I’ve been a researcher for more than 50 years. And I know how difficult it is to establish truth. But that’s what research is, it’s hard work. It’s a struggle. So, you know, it involves interacting with many people and trying to understand situations and speak the truth. It’s difficult, but it’s what we’re about. And if universities start fudging the truth in advertising, pretending to be what they are not, misrepresenting reality, then they are doing terrible damage to their own cultural position as the institutions that embody truth telling. That seems to be a very, very serious problem. And, and that’s why I get, you know, more angry about what seems to many managements to be just good commercial practice. It’s not good university practice.

Will Brehm  26:05
Are you hopeful that the university will soon move away from this corporate-style management? Or are there examples of universities around the world that are actually doing something different? And yes, it could be a multiplicity and a diversity of different ways of managing and organizing the university but sometimes I get very pessimistic about the whole industry that I have spent the last ten years of my life working in. And I don’t know, is it going to change in my lifetime or am I going to be battling this corporate-style management for the rest of my career?

Raewyn Connell  26:41
It’s a good question. And I think everybody involved in these issues at times despairs at the difficulty of moving in a more democratic direction. And I’m sustained, I think -I mean, I’m originally a historian. So, I’m always interested in the history of institutions. And I took some time when I was working on this project to go back into the history of universities and look specifically at the history of alternative universities. And it turns out, there is a wonderful history of alternative and experimental universities all over the world, which is not all that widely known. But things like, for instance, there’s an extraordinary story of the Flying University in Poland, which was developed back in the 1880s, when Poland or most of Poland was part of the Russian Tsarist Empire. And the Russian regime tried to control universities, to ratify them, and to exert regime control over them. So, the Poles went underground and invented a kind of underground university, which became known as the Flying University because its classes would move around from place to place in Warsaw in order to avoid the police. And taught a whole curriculum, natural science, educational sciences, humanities and so forth, all under the radar. And after the 1905 revolution in Russia, that came to the surface, became legal, became a regular university. Then Poland was invaded by the Nazis and they did it again, under incredible repression during the Second World War. Then the Russians threw the Nazis out and established a communist regime in Russia, which restored the universities but also attempted to control them and the Poles did it again! They had a Flying University teaching all the forbidden kinds of social sciences and humanities. Now, that’s one story, there are anti-colonial universities in India, which was set up by people like Rabindranath Tagore, the poet, back in the 1920s as a place for the meeting of civilizations rather than the Eurocentric curriculum in the universities the British had set up in the colonial system. When the pink tide occurred in Latin America 10 or 15 years ago, a series of progressive governments around the continent, they set up reform universities too. Indigenous universities, working class universities, universities in remote parts of the country with rural populations and so forth, publicly funded, bringing in new groups of people who, for years, they’ve been excluded from the university system. In AotearoaNew Zealand, there’s a university which is based on Maori indigenous culture. Similar things in parts of India, all over Central America, in parts of South America, like Bolivia, there are now indigenous universities which have curriculum that try to blend research-based knowledge with indigenous knowledge and develop curricula that are relevant to indigenous communities. So, there’s lots of experimentation in the history when you go looking for it, and that, to me, is a deep source of hope. People have done it in the past, it’s still possible for us to move in these directions now.

Will Brehm  30:34
And that actually is incredibly hopeful that the system that we’re in today is not static, and it can change and there is a history of change over time. And that’s deeply, deeply hopeful.

Raewyn Connell  30:45
I had a bit of involvement in this kind of work back in the 1960s when I was a radical student among the many other radical students. I was involved in setting up what we called Free University in Sydney, which was a student-directed, cooperative learning institution that did a couple of dozen courses on a variety of issues that we felt were missing from the mainstream university curricula. I’ve taught in publicly funded universities that were part of another reform movement, the kind of “Green Fields” universities set up in the 1960s and 70s in countries like Australia, Britain, the United States. The expansion of the University of California was a good example of that, places like UC Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara Davis, were involved. You know, experimentation with curricula, combinations of disciplines, student-centered teaching practices, lots of really interesting educational innovation happening in those institutions over a period of 20-25 years. So even in the mainstream system, it is possible to innovate and democratize in inventive ways.

Will Brehm  32:04
Well, Raewyn Connell, thank you so much for joining FreshEd. You know, I read your book, and it’s like a love letter to the university itself. And it’s critical but supportive and offers so much beautiful history. So, I mean, I can’t recommend it enough. And I just want to say thank you for writing the book and getting these ideas out there. And, as a young academic, I must say that I am actually very hopeful of being in this industry and in this career and hopefully getting involved in some of these new movements to diversify the university. So, thank you very much for joining FreshEd and you’re always welcome back on in the future.

Raewyn Connell  32:40
That’s great to hear. Thank you.

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This episode of FreshEd is brought to you by the Comparative and International Education Society. 

The CIES 2017 Symposium aims to explore new frontiers in Comparative Education. Today, I speak with Peter Demerath about some of the exciting work being done in ethnographic research. We discuss many ideas from indigenous knowledge to grounded grit. Peter even talks about the challenges researching the same community for over two decades, as well as the value such studies can have.

Peter Demerath is an Associate Professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development, and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota. A former middle school social studies teacher, Peter has conducted ethnographic research on schooling, student identity, and academic engagement in Papua New Guinea and in the suburban and urban United States.  He is currently President-elect of the American Anthropological Association’s Council on Anthropology and Education.

Citation: Demerath, Peter, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 91, podcast audio, October 16, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/peterdemerath/

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Today we kick off a four-part series called FreshEd x Symposium. During the lead-up to the 2017 Symposium, four speakers will join FreshEd to whet your appetite for the conversations and debate that will take place in Washington DC. This year’s symposium asks us to consider about how comparative and international education phenomena are studied and wade through the possibility that our field has colonial legacies and tendencies.

To kick things off, Leigh Patel joins me to discuss the ways in which settler colonialism structures American society, including the academy.

Leigh Patel is an interdisciplinary researcher, educator, and writer. She is a Professor at the University of California, Riverside, and is working on her next book, “To study is to struggle: Higher education and settler colonialism.”  She will speak at the CIES Symposium later this month.

Citation: Patel, Leigh, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 89, podcast audio, October 2, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/patel/

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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. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/raewynconnell/

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!
Best,
Will
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