Postcolonial Critique: the Necessity of Sociology

Gregor McLennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Sociology is often pitched as the social science discipline most obviously in need of postcolonial deconstruction, owing to its ostensibly more transparent Eurocentrism as a formation. For this reason, even postcolonial scholars working within the ambit of sociology are reluctant to play up its analytical strengths in addition to exposing its ideological deficits. Without underestimating the profound impact of the growing body of postcolonial theorizing and research on self-reflexivity within sociology, this paper points up some key ways in which the structure of comprehension within postcolonial critique itself is characteristically sociological. Alternatively, if that latter conclusion is to remain in dispute, a number of core epistemological and socio-theoretical problems must be accepted as being, still, radically unresolved. Consequently, a more dialectical grasp of sociology’s role within this domain of enquiry and style of intellectual politics is needed. I develop these considerations by critically engaging with three recent currents of postcolonial critique – Raewyn Connell’s advocacy of ‘Southern Theory’; the project of ‘reinventing social emancipation’ articulated by Boaventura de Sousa Santos; and the ‘de-colonial option’ fronted by Walter D. Mignolo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-144
Number of pages25
JournalPolitical Power and Social Theory
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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