Disquieted relations: West meeting East in contemporary sociological research
AbstractThe history of the past 25 years of collaboration between ‘Westerners’ and ‘Easterners’ in social science research has been accompanied by a good deal of ambivalence. While the collapse of state-socialism suddenly opened a spacious terrain for such collaborations with acknowledgeable gains in their academic contacts, professional outlook and income, old and new Eastern entrants experience the degradation of their expertise and a forceful new positioning into acting as service providers instead of being regarded as equal intellectual partners. Many go as far as labelling the new forms of collaboration as outright ‘colonisation’. Their sharp critique embraces the new experiences of Western domination in setting the concepts and methods of research and it also addresses the exploitative structures of the academia that serve this domination with a highly unequal distribution of funding. The secondary positions and peripheral roles that ‘Easterners’ occupy in access to opportunities for publishing comes in addition, together with the complains about their marginalisation in participating in the influential areas of policy-making where the role of respected advisors with readily acknowledged knowledge and expertise is regularly awarded only to ‘Westerners’.
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