In Southern Theory Raewyn Connell presents the case for a new 'world social science' - one that is inclusive of many voices - by arguing for a more democratic global recognition of social theory from societies outside the dominant European and North American metropole. Intellectual production of the majority 'southern' world does in fact include theory, though its contribution is often marginalised and intellectually discredited by the metropole. Connell shows how social theory about the modern world from peripheral societies is equal in intellectual rigour and is often of greater political relevance to our changing world. Beginning with an examination of the hidden assumptions of modern general theory, Southern Theory looks to the 'southern' social experience and the theories that have emerged from Australia, Indigenous peoples, Latin America, India, Africa, Islam and other post-colonial societies, as sources of important and vital contributions to world social science.
These myriad theories offer valuable perspectives so crucial to the application of social theory in the contemporary world, having the power to transform the influence of the metropolitan hegemony on social thought by mutual regard and interaction. Southern Theory is a major new work in social theory, drawing on anthropology, history, psychology, philosophy, economics and cultural studies, with wide-ranging implications for the social sciences in the 21st century.
Raewyn Connell is University Chair at the University of Sydney.