[FoME] New MeCoDEM Working Paper | De-Westernisation

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Mo Jan 18 12:30:32 CET 2016

MeCoDEM Working Paper: 
De-Westernisation (Antje Glueck) 

This working paper from the MeCoDEM series is now available for download at: http://www.mecodem.eu/publications/working-papers 

Executive Summary  
The paper outlines the main debates surrounding De-Westernisation, which addresses global imbalances in the creation and distribution of academic knowledge. In addition to providing a comprehensive overview of the field, the working paper suggests further steps in order to enrich a global set of philosophical, social and political theories. The paper foregrounds East and South Asia, as well as Africa, in its consideration of non-Western philosophical traditions. The following observations can be summarised: 

- De-Westernisation concerns all stages of the research process; across professional academic cultures, theoretical and methodological perspectives and the choice of research subjects.

- The main criticisms revolve around a dominant elitist Western axiology and epistemology, with synchronous neglect of indigenous philosophical traditions. The paper points to some of the historical reasons for why indigenous concepts remained under-researched.

- The current state of research is characterised by countries of the global South remaining at the ‘periphery’, while the ‘hegemonic centre’ is largely occupied by Northern America, Europe and Australia. Funding inequalities create persistent asymmetrical structures in academic cooperation, with research largely initiated within Western countries. This rift is further deepened by deploying Western approaches with little localised adaptation or the integration of local frameworks.

- Suggestions to overcome those imbalances comprise: the improvement of academic infrastructures in countries of the global South, including cooperation in research, journal and publishing activities; the development of ‘indigenous’ instruction textbooks; the acceptance of regional differences versus universalism; and more self-reflective academic cultures.

About MeCoDEM: 
MeCoDEM began on 1 February 2014 and will run over three years. The project investigates the interplay of communication and democratisation conflicts in four countries, Egypt, Kenya, Serbia and South Africa, each of them representing unique aspects of transitional / post-transitional divisions. Based on a comparative case study design, the research covers constitutional conflicts, civic conflicts and conflicts surrounding accountability and good governance. These conflicts constitute arenas of dispute where the media interact with the communicative strategies of governments on the one hand, and political activists and political movements struggling for recognition on the other. MeCoDEM is funded by the European Union within the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme. With a budget of 2.2 million Euros, the project consortium includes eight partner institutions from six countries: University of Leeds (coordinating institution), University of Belgrade, University of Hamburg, University of Cape Town, University of Oxford, Stockholm University, Ruhr University Bochum and American University in Cairo. 

MeCoDEM Contact: 
Prof Barbara Thomass | Barbara.Thomass at rub.de 
Website: www.mecodem.eu | Twitter:@MeCoDEM 
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