ABSTRACT

This chapter focuses on two main issues: production of scientific knowledge and capacity building at African research universities and how these two subjects are interwoven. The global production of scientific knowledge has been contested by authors like Connell (2007), who describes how social science theory has formed itself not only on Western ethnocentric assumptions but also from a position of privilege claiming universal knowledge and universal values. Taking a somewhat broader perspective, Linda Tuhiwai Smith describes this as ‘research through imperial eyes’ (Smith, 2012: 44), giving a wide range of examples of its implications for our understanding of, for example, conceptions of the individual and society, as well as space and time. Research outside the Global North (e.g. Africa) has often been perceived as a place for collecting empirical data, while research in the Global North has been seen as a place for theory development (Hountondji, 1995). Against this background, this chapter also sees scientific knowledge as situated as described in Chapter 2 of this book.