New MeCoDEM Working Paper: De-Westernisation

A key concept paper by Antje Glück is now available. Glueck outlines and critically discusses the main scholarly debate(s) surrounding De-Westernisation.

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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.