Building a Sociology for the Global South: Assessing a
A useful distinction can be drawn between sociology in the South, sociology of the South, and sociology for the South (Burawoy 2010: 21-2). Sociology in the South, Burawoy argues, is simply Northern sociology, presented as a universal sociology, transferred to the South. This is clearest at the undergraduate level where European and North American textbooks still dominate the market. The origins of modernity are presented as an exclusively European phenomenon introduced through the writings of Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and Karl Marx as if there were no global conditions for its emergence (Bhambra in this book). In our writings on the sociology of work and labour, we have developed what could be called a sociology of Southern labour in which we argue that Northern sociology presents itself as a false universal in which we particularize by showing how Northern theory is either false when applied to the South or has very different significations (Webster and Lipsig-Mumme 2002). But, as Burawoy observes, this is a sociology of the South but it is not yet sociology for the South. Particularizing and even expanding Northern theory is not the end of the road, Burawoy argues, but a necessary step in the development of a sociology for the South – ‘a theory that binds the South to an emergent counter-hegemony that presents the interests of the South as the interests of all’ (Burawoy 2010: 21).