Skip to main content
Log in

For a postcolonial sociology

  • Published:
Theory and Society Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Postcolonial theory has enjoyed wide influence in the humanities but it has left sociology comparatively unscathed. Does this mean that postcolonial theory is not relevant to sociology? Focusing upon social theory and historical sociology in particular, this article considers if and how postcolonial theory in the humanities might be imported into North American sociology. It argues that postcolonial theory offers a substantial critique of sociology because it alerts us to sociology’s tendency to analytically bifurcate social relations. The article also suggests that a postcolonial sociology can overcome these problems by incorporating relational social theories to give new accounts of modernity. Rather than simply studying non-Western postcolonial societies or only examining colonialism, this approach insists upon the interactional constitution of social units, processes, and practices across space. To illustrate, the article draws upon relational theories (actor-network theory and field theory) to offer postcolonial accounts of two conventional research areas in historical sociology: the industrial revolution in England and the French Revolution.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. A simple google search of “postcolonial theory” and “syllabus” shows a huge number of literature courses. Alternatively, this author has only found two sociology courses in the U.S. devoted to postcolonial theory.

  2. The American Sociological Association does not have data on best selling introductory textbooks. I used the best-selling lists from Amazon.com. The textbooks I consulted are Conley (2008), Henslin (2009), Macionis (2008), Schaeffer (2011), Ferris and Stein (2009), and for comparison Giddens et al. (2011).

  3. Top five best sellers are from Amazon.com’s sales rankings. They are Calhoun et al. (2007), Ritzer (2009), Applerouth and Edles (2007), Allan (2010) and Johnson (2010). One exception (Applerouth and Edles 2007) includes E. Said and G. Spivak, but this is not a separate section on postcolonial theory; rather just a subsection of the section on “The Global Society,” which is about globalization and includes Wallerstein and Sklair (Applerouth and Edles 2007). I have found one book, Seidman and Alexander’s New Social Theory Reader (2008), that has a brief section on “postcoloniality.” But this is not a best-seller nor is it a standard textbook on sociological theory; its purpose is explicitly to cover niche areas of social theory such as “performativity” and “biopolitics.”

  4. Calls for postcolonial sociologies have emerged in the European context (Bhambra 2007a; Boatcâ and Costa 2010). Other sociologies informed by postcolonial theory, such as “indigenized” or “Southern” sociologies that I discuss later, have been largely restricted to the non-North American context, finding most relevance, for instance, in journals such as Current Sociology and International Sociology rather than the dominant U.S. journals. As noted, the dominant U.S. journals in sociology have not paid serious attention topostcolonial theory, though one notable exception is the works by Connell (Connell 2006, 1997).

  5. I therefore follow the lineages and discussions of postcolonial theory by Ashcroft et al. (1995, 2002), Gandhi (1998), Loomba (1998), Williams and Chrisman (1994) and Young (2003) among others.

  6. Early thinkers often thought of as originators of postcolonial theory, such as Fanon or C.L.R. James, had strong affiliations with the Marxist critique of colonial capitalism. The Subaltern Studies group of Indian historians containing the seeds of some strands of postcolonial theory were similarly working within Marxist problematics (in this case of the failure of class-consciousness to take root in India). Contemporary thinkers like Gayatri Spivak draws upon Gramsci and Marx’s analysis of capitalism. See Moore-Gilbert (1997, pp. 79–81) for more.

  7. Seth (2009) draws upon postcolonial theory to criticize sociology on the grounds that it does not recognize how knowledge constitutes the social; that it fails to acknowledge that knowledge “can create, not merely describe” (p. 337). But this is a critique of traditional positivist sociology and does not recognize the multiple ways in which sociology has indeed problematized and theorized knowledge. Critical realism, for instance, is premised upon the idea that knowledge can both describe and constitute “the real” (see Steinmetz 1998).

  8. It is the case, though, that Bourdieu’s early work discussed colonialism (Bourdieu 1961; Goodman and Silverstein 2009) and in fact, as recent scholarship shows, Bourdieu had a theory of colonialism worth recognizing (Go 2011b). It is in his reception and his later work on practice that colonialism gets overlooked. This still demonstrates the overarching point about sociology’s elision of colonialism. Other sociologists in the French context, not least George Balandier (1966), did theorize colonialism, but this was largely in the context of anthropology (Balandier was picking up the themes of his anthropologist adviser Michel Leirus) and never become canonized in North American sociology.

  9. Some of this work has even been lauded professionally, as books on colonialism or empire have won book awards from the Comparative-Historical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association (e.g., Barkey 2008; Steinmetz 2007)

  10. This applies to the tendency among some sociologists to reduce postcolonial theory’s contribution down to its analysis of representations of the colonized or to colonial discourse. As I have argued, postcolonial theory offers sociology much more than this. For an early critique of studies of “colonial discourse” in history, see Parry (1987).

  11. Similarly, though scholars like W.E.B. DuBois wrote much about postcolonial themes, and while sociologists have begun to pay DuBois new attention, much of the new work remains focused on North America and it overlooks Dubois’s global focus, as Morris (2007) argues.

  12. There is a parallel here with postcolonial approaches in literary studies, that is, the call for non-Western authors and texts that make up the study of non-Anglophone “Commonwealth” literature. On this count too Southern Theory is akin to feminist standpoint epistemology (Harding and Hintikka 2003) or Black Feminist Theory (Hill Collins 2000) that makes the concrete experiences of actors the starting point of inquiry.

  13. Said noted that Fanon’s and Césaire’s work set the groundwork for this strategy (Said 2003).

  14. The body of literature that goes under “actor-network theory” is large and there are varieties within. Seminal or illustrative works include Callon (1986), Latour (2005) and Law (1986).

  15. Prakash accuses Latour of failing “to take into account empire’s constitutive role in the formation of the West,” but this does not mean that the conceptual apparatus of actor-network theory could not be useful for postcolonial studies (Prakash 1999, p. 12). Prakash here attacks the empirical account Latour offers but this is distinct from its theoretical potentiality. Kempel and Mawani (2009) and Bhambra (2007b) also highlight the potential of ANT for postcolonial studies though my deployment differs in its focus upon relationality.

  16. Some have argued that import-substitution in England with tariffs against Indian calicoes explains mechanization (O'Brien et al. 1991), but this overlooks the wider network, which included the European and not just English markets.

  17. Recent work on colonialism and imperialism has employed Bourdieu’s field concept also (e.g., Go 2008b; Steinmetz 2007, 2008). But whereas some of this work uses field theory to incorporate the agency of colonized peoples and relations between metropole and colony, others only use it to focus on colonizers themselves (e.g., the field of relations among colonial officials), thereby neglecting how colonized peoples should also be incorporated into the analysis as more than objects but as actors.

References

  • Abbott, A. (2001). Time matters: On theory and method. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Adams, J., Clemens, E. S., & Orloff, A. S. (2005). Introduction: Social theory, modernity, and the three waves of historical Sociology. In J. Adams, E. S. Clemens, & A. S. Orloff (Eds.), Remaking modernity (pp. 1–73). Durham: Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Akiwowo, A. (1986). Contributions to the sociology of knowledge from an African oral poetry. International Sociology, 1(4), 343–358.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alatas, S. H. (1974). The capitve mind and creative development. International Social Science Journal, 36(4), 691–699.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alatas, S. F. (2006a). Alternative discourses in Asian social science: Responses to eurocentrism. New Delhi: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alatas, S. F. (2006b). A Khaldunian exemplar for a historical sociology for the south. Current Sociology, 54(3), 397–411.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Allan, K. (2010). Contemporary social and sociological theory: Visualizing social worlds. Los Angeles: Pine Forge Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Amin, S. (1989). Eurocentrism. New York: Monthly Review Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Applerouth, S., & Edles, L. (2007). Sociological theory in the contemporary era. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (Eds.). (1995). The post-colonial studies reader. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (2002). The empire writes back: Theory and practice in post-colonial literatures. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bakhtin, M. M. (1981). Discourse in the novel. In M. Holquist (Ed.), The dialogic imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Balandier, G. (1966 [1951]). The colonial situation: A theoretical approach. In I. Wallerstein (Ed.), Social change: The colonial situation (pp. 34–61). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Barkey, K. (2008). Empire of difference: The Ottomans in comparative perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Bayly, C. A. (2004). The birth of the modern world 1780–1914. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Berg, M. (2004). In pursuit of luxury: global history and British consumer goods in the eighteenth century. Past & Present, 182(1), 85–142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Berg, M. (2007). From globalization to global history. History Workshop Journal, 64, 335–340.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bhabha, H. K. (1994). The location of culture. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bhambra, G. (2007a). Sociology and postcolonialism: another ‘Missing’ revolution? Sociology, 41(5), 871–884.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bhambra, G. (2007b). Rethinking modernity: Postcolonialism and the sociological imagination. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Boatcâ, M., & Costa, S. (2010). Postcolonial sociology: A research agenda. In E. Gutiérrez Rodríguez, M. Boatcâ, & S. Costa (Eds.), Decolonizing European sociology: Transdisciplinary approaches (pp. 13–32). Burlington: Ashgate.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bockman, J., & Eyal, G. (2002). Eastern Europe as a laboratory for economic knowledge: the transnational roots of liberalism. The American Journal of Sociology, 108(2), 310–352.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, P. (1961 [1958]). The Algerians. Translated by Alan C.M. Ross with a preface by Raymond Aron. Boston: Beacon Press.

  • Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

  • Bourdieu, P. (1998). Practical reason: On the theory of action. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, P., & Wacquant, J. D. (1992). An invitation to reflexive sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Broadberry, S., & Bishnupriya, G. (2009). Lancashire, India, and shifting competitive advantage in cotton textiles, 1700–1850: the neglected role of factor prices. The Economic History Review, 62(2), 279–305.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brubaker, R. (1992). Citizenship and nationhood in France and Germany. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bryant, J. (2006). The west and the rest revisited: debating capitalist origins, European colonialism, and the advent of modernity. The Canadian Journal of Sociology, 31(4), 403–443.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Buck-Morss, S. (2009). Hegel, Haiti, and universal history. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burawoy, M. (2008). What is to be done? Current Sociology, 56(3), 351.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Calhoun, C. (2006). Pierre Bourdieu and social transformation: lessons from Algeria. Development and Change, 37(6), 1403–1415.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Calhoun, C., Gerteis, J., Moody, J., Pfaff, S., & Virk, I. (Eds.). (2007). Contemporary sociological theory. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Callon, M. (1986). Some elements of a sociology of translation: Domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St Brieux Bay. In J. Law (Ed.), Power, action and belief. A new sociology of knowledge? (pp. 196–229). Keele: Sociological Review Monograph.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cassirer, E. (1953). Substance and function. New York: Dover.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chakrabarty, D. (1997). The difference-deferral of a colonial modernity: Public debates on domesticity in British Bengal. In F. Cooper & A. Stoler (Eds.), Tensions of empire (pp. 373–405). Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chakrabarty, D. (2000). Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial thought and historical difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Charrad, M. (2001). States and women’s rights: The making of postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chernilo, D. (2006). Social theory’s methodological nationalism. European Journal of Social Theory, 9(1), 5–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chua, P. (2008). Orientalism as cultural practices and the production of sociological knowledge. Sociology Compass, 2(4), 1179–1191.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Comaroff, J., & Comaroff, J. (1997). Of revelation and revolution. The dialectics of modernity on a South African Frontier. Volume II. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Conley, D. (2008). You may ask yourself: An introduction to thinking like a sociologist. New York: W.W Norton & Company, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Connell, R. W. (1997). Why is classical theory classica. The American Journal of Sociology, 102(6), 1511–1557.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Connell, R. (2006). Northern theory: The political geography of general social theory. Theory and Society, 35(2), 237–264.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Connell, R. (2007). Southern theory. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, F. (2007). Provincializing France. In A. L. Stoler, C. McGranahan, & P. C. Perdue (Eds.), Imperial formations (pp. 341–378). Sante Fe: School for Advanced Research Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crafts, N. F. R. (1977). Industrial revolution in Britain and France: some thoughts on teh questin “why was England first?”. The Economic History Review, 30(3), 429–441.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Crouzet, F. (1990). Britain ascendant: Comparative studies in Franco-British economic history. Cambridge Univ Press.

  • de Sousa Santos, B. (2010). From the postmodern to the postcolonial—and beyond both. In E. Gutiérrez Rodríguez, M. Boatcâ, & S. Costa (Eds.), Decolonizing European sociology: Transdisciplinary approaches (pp. 225–242). Burlington: Ashgate.

    Google Scholar 

  • Derrida, J. (1976). Of grammatology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dewey, J., & Bentley, A. (1949). Knowing and the known. Boston: Beacon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dubois, L. (2000). La Répubilque Métissée: Citizenship, Colonialism, and the borders of French history. Cultural Studies, 14(1), 15–34.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Emirbayer, M. (1997). Manifesto for a relational sociology. The American Journal of Sociology, 103(2), 281–317.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fanon, F. (1965). A dying colonialism. New York: Grove.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fanon, F. (1967 [1952]). Black skin, white masks. New York: Grove Press.

  • Fanon, F. (1968 [1961]). The wretched of the earth. New York: Grove Press.

  • Fehér, F. (1990). The French revolution and the birth of modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ferris, K., & Stein, J. (2009). The real world: An introduction to sociology. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. New York: Vintage Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Frank, A. G. (1967). Capitalism and underdevelopment in Latin America. New York: Monthly Review Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Frank, A. G. (1998). ReOrient: Global economy in the Asian age. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • García Canclini, N. (1995). Hybrid cultures. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gandhi, L. (1998). Postcolonial theory. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Giddens, A., Duneier, M., Appelbaum, R. P., & Carr, D. (2011). Essentials of Sociology. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

  • Gilbert, H., & Tompkins, J. (1996). Post-colonial drama: Theory, practice, politics. London: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Gilroy, P. (1993). The black atlantic. London: Verso.

    Google Scholar 

  • Go, J. (2006). Postcolonial theory. In B. S. Turner (Ed.), The Cambridge dictionary of sociology (pp. 452–454). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Go, J. (2008a). American empire and the politics of meaning: Elite political cultures in the Philippines and Puerto Rico during U.S. colonialism. Durham: Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Go, J. (2008b). Global fields and imperial forms: Field theory and the British and American empires. Sociological Theory, 26(3), 201–229.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Go, J. (2009). The ‘New’ sociology of empire and colonialism. Sociology Compass, 3(5), 775–788.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Go, J. (2011a). Patterns of empire: The British and American empires, 1688-present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Go, J. (2011b). Decolonizing Bourdieu: Colonial and postcolonial theory in Bourdieu’s early work. Unpublished ms., Department of Sociology, Boston University.

  • Go, J. (2012). Sociology’s imperial unconscious: The emergence of American sociology in the context of empire. In G. Steinmetz (Ed.), Sociology and empire. Durham: Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goertz, G., & Starr, H. (Eds.). (2003). Necesary conditions: Theory, methodology, and applications. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goldstone, J. (2000). The rise of the west–or not? A revision to socio-economic history. Sociological Theory, 18(2), 173–194.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goodman, J., & Silverstein, P. (Eds.). (2009). Bourdieu in Algeria: Colonial politics, ethnographic practices, theoretical developments. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodwin, J. (2001). No other way out: States and revolutionary movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Goody, J. (2004). Capitalism and modernity: The great debate. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goody, J. (2006). The theft of history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grinde, D. A., & Johansen, B. E. (1991). Exemplar of liberty: Native America and the evolution of democracy. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grosfoguel, R. (2002). Colonial difference, geopolitics of knowledge, and global coloniality in the modern/Colonial capitalist world-system. Review: Fernand Braudel Center, 25(3), 203–224.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grosfoguel, R. (2003). Colonial subjects: Puerto Ricans in a global perspective. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gutiérrez Rodríguez, E. (2010). Decolonizing postcolonial rhetoric. In E. Gutiérrez Rodríguez, M. Boatcâ, & S. Costa (Eds.), Decolonizing European sociology: Transdisciplinary approaches (pp. 50–67). Burlington: Ashgate.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gutiérrez Rodríguez, E., Boatcâ, M., & Sérgio C. (Eds.). (2010). Decolonizing European sociology: Transdisciplinary approaches. Burlington/Surrey: Ashgate.

  • Hall, C. (1996a). Histories, empires, and the post-colonial moment. In I. Chambers & L. Curti (Eds.), The post-colonial question: Common skies, divided horizons (pp. 65–77). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hall, S. (1996b). When was ‘The post-colonial’? Thinking at the limit. In I. Chambers & L. Curti (Eds.), The post-colonial question: Common skies, divided horizons (pp. 242–260). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harding, S. (2005). Negotiating with the positivist legacy: New social justice movements and a standpoint politics of method. In G. Steinmetz (Ed.), The politics of method in the human sciences (pp. 346–365). Durham: Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harding, S. G., & Hintikka, M. B. (2003). Discovering reality: Feminist perspectives on epistemology, metaphysics, methodology, and philosophy of science. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hasseler, T., & Krebs, P. (2003). Losing our way after the imperial turn: Charting Academic uses of the postcolonial. In A. Burton (Ed.), After the imperial turn (pp. 90–101). Durham: Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Henslin, J. (2009). Essentials of sociology: A down-to-earth approach (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hill Collins, P. (2000). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hobsbawm, E. J. (1968). Industry and empire; the making of modern English society, 1750 to the present day. New York: Pantheon Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hunt, L. (2007). Inventing human rights: A history. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jacoby, R. (1995). Marginal returns: The trouble with post-colonial theory. Lingua Franca September/October 30–37.

  • James, C. L. R. (1963). The black Jacobins. New York: Vintage Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, P. (2010). Contemporary sociological theory: An integrated multi-level approach. New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Karlstrom, M. (1996). Imagining democracy: Political culture and democratization in Buganda. Africa, 66, 485–505.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Keim, W. (2011). Counterhegemonic currents and internationalization of sociology. International Sociology, 26(1), 123–145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kempel, T., & Mawani, R. (2009). The sociological imagination and its imperial shadows. Theory, Culture, and Society, 26, 7–8.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lacan, J. (1977). Écrits: A selection. New York: Norton.

    Google Scholar 

  • Landes, D. S. (1999). The wealth and poverty of nations. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Law, J. (1986). On the methods of long-distance control: Vessels, navigation and the Portugese route to India. In J. Law (Ed.), Power, action and belief. A new sociology of knowledge? (pp. 234–263). Keele: Sociological Review Monograph.

    Google Scholar 

  • Law, J. (1992). Notes on the theory of the actor-network: Ordering, strategy and hetereogeneity. Systems Practice, 5(379–393).

    Google Scholar 

  • Loomba, A. (1998). Colonialism/Postcolonialism: The new critical idiom. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Loomba, A., Kaul, S., et al. (Eds.). (2006). Postcolonial studies and beyond. Durham: Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Macionis, J. (2008). Society: The basics. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.

    Google Scholar 

  • Magubane, Z. (2004). Bringing the empire home: Race, class, and gender in Britain and colonial South Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Magubane, Z. (2005). Overlapping territories and intertwined histories: Historical sociology’s global imagination. In J. Adams, E. S. Clemens, & A. S. Orloff (Eds.), Remaking modernity: Politics, history, sociology (pp. 92–108). Duke: Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mahoney, J. (2010). Colonialism and postcolonial development. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Mahoney, J., & Goertz, G. (2006). A tale of two cultures: Contrasting quantitative and qualitative research. Political Analysis, 14(3), 227–249.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mahoney, J., Kimball, E., & Koivu, K. (2009). The logic of historical explanation in the social sciences. Comparative Political Studies, 42(1), 114–146.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mamdani, M. (1996). Citizen and subject: Contemporary Africa and the legacy of late colonialism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Manela, E. (2006). The Wilsonian moment: Self determination and the international origins of anticolonial nationalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mann, M. (1993). The sources of social power, volume II. The rise of classes and states, 1760–1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mannoni, O. (1964 [1950]). Prospero and Caliban: The psychology of colonization. Translated by Pamela Powesland with a Foreward by Philip Mason. New York: Frederick A. Preager, Inc.

  • Martin, J. L. (2003). What is field theory? The American Journal of Sociology, 109(1), 1–49.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mawani, R. (2009). Colonial proximities: Crossracial encounters and juridical truths in British Columbia, 1871–1921. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • McLennan, G. (2003). Sociology, eurocentrism and postcolonial theory. European Journal of Social Theory, 6(1), 69–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Memmi, A. (1965 [1957]). The colonizer and the colonized. Boston: Beacon Press.

  • Meyer, J. (1980). The world polity and the authority of the nation-state. In A. Bergesen (Ed.), Studies of the modern world-system (p. 137). New York: Academic.

    Google Scholar 

  • Meyer, J. W. (1999). The changing cultural content of the nation-state: A world society perspective. In G. Steinmetz (Ed.), State/Culture (pp. 123–143). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Meyer, J. W., Boli, J., & Thomas, G. M. (1987). Ontology and rationalization in the western cultural account. In G. M. Thomas, J. W. Meyer, F. O. Ramirez, & J. Boli (Eds.), Institutional structure. Constituting state, society, and the individual (pp. 11–37). Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Meyer, J. W., Boli, J., Thomas, G. M., & Ramirez, F. O. (1997). World society and the nation-state. The American Journal of Sociology, 103(1), 144–181.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mignolo, W. (2000). Local histories/Global designs. Durham: Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mignolo, W. D. (2009). Epistemic disobedience, independent thought and decolonial freedom. Theory, Culture & Society, 26(7–8), 159.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moore-Gilbert, B. (1997). Postcolonial theory: Contexts, practices, politics. London: Verso.

    Google Scholar 

  • Morris, R. (2002). Theses on the questions of war: history, media, terror. Social Text, 20(3), 146–175.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Morris, A. (2007). Sociology of race and W.E.B. DuBois: The path not taken. In C. Calhoun (Ed.), Sociology in America: A history (pp. 503–534). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • O’Brien, P. (2006). Provincializing the first industrial revolution. Working Papers of the Global Economic History Network No. 17/06, London School of Economics.

  • O’Brien, P., Griffiths, T., & Hunt, P. (1991). Political components of the industrial revolution: parliament and the English cotton textile industry, 1660–1774. The Economic History Review, 44(3), 395–423.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parry, B. (1987). Problems in current theories of colonial discourse. Oxford Literary Review, 9, 27–58.

    Google Scholar 

  • Patel, S. (2006). Beyond binaries: a case for self-reflexive sociologies. Current Sociology, 54(3), 381–395.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Patel, S. (2010). The ISA handbook of diverse sociological traditions. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Patel, S. (2011). An international sociology with diverse epistemes. Global Dialogue 1(4), (http://www.isa-sociology.org/global-dialogue/).

  • Prakash, G. (1999). Another reason: Science and the imagination of modern India. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Prasad, S. (2006). Crisis, identity, and social distinction: cultural politics of food, taste, and consumption in late colonial Bengal. Journal of Historical Sociology, 19, 246–265.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reed, I. A. (2008). Justifying sociological knowledge: from realism to interpretation. Sociological Theory, 26(2), 101–129.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reed, I. A. (2010). Epistemology contextualized: social-scientific knowledge in a postpositivist era. Sociological Theory, 28(1), 20–39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reed, I. A. (2011). Interpretation and social knowledge. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ritzer, G. (2009). Contemporary sociological theory and its classical roots: The basics. Columbus: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Said, E. (1979). Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Said, E. (1989). Representing the colonized: anthropology’s interloctors. Critical Inquiry, 15, 205–225.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Said, E. (1993). Culture and imperialism. New York: Knopf. Distributed by Random House.

    Google Scholar 

  • Said, E. (2000). Reflections on exile and other essays. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Said, E. (2003). Always on top. London Review of Books, 25(6).

  • Savage, M. (2009). Contemporary sociology and the challenge of descriptive assemblage. European Journal of Social Theory, 12(1), 155–174.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schaeffer, R. (2011). Sociology: A brief introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Seidman, S. (1996). Empire and knowledge: more troubles, new opportunities for sociology. Contemporary Sociology, 25(3), 313–316.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Seidman, S., & Alexander, J. (Eds.). (2008). The new social theory reader. New York: Routledge.

  • Seth, S. (2009). Historical sociology and postcolonial theory: two strategies for challenging eurocentrism. International Political Sociology, 3(3), 334–338.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sewell, W. H., Jr. (1996a). Historical events as transformations of structures: inventing revolution at the Bastille. Theory and Society, 25, 841–881.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sewell, W. H., Jr. (1996b). Three temporalities: Toward an eventful sociology. In T. J. McDonald (Ed.), The historic turn in the human sciences (pp. 245–280). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sitas, A. (2006). The African renassiance challenge and sociological reclamations in the south. Current Sociology, 54(3), 357–380.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Skocpol, T. (1979). States and social revolutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Skocpol, T., & Kestnbaum, M. (1990). Mars unshackled: The French revolution in world-historical perspective. In F. Fehér (Ed.), The French revolution and the birth of modernity (pp. 13–29). Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Slater, D. (2010). Ordering power: Contentious politics and authoriarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Sosa Elizaga, R. (2006). Sociology and the south: The Latin American experience. Current Sociology, 54(3), 413–425.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Spivak, G. C. (1986). Three women’s texts and a critique of imperialism. In H. L. Gates Jr. (Ed.), Race, writing, and difference (pp. 262–280). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spivak, G. C., & Harasym, S. (1990). The post-colonial critic: Interviews, strategies, dialogues. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Steinmetz, G. (1998). Critical realism and historical sociology: a review article. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 39(4), 170–186.

    Google Scholar 

  • Steinmetz, G. (2004). Odious comparisons: Incommensurability, the case study, and ‘Small N’s’ in sociology. Sociological Theory, 22(3), 371–400.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Steinmetz, G. (2007). The devil’s handwriting: Precoloniality and the German colonial state in Qingdao, Samoa, and Southwest Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Steinmetz, G. (2008). The colonial state as a social field: ethnographic capital and native policy in the German overseas empire before 1914. American Sociological Review, 73, 589–612.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stoler, A. L. (1992). Rethinking colonial categories: European communities and the boundaries of rule. In N. B. Dirks (Ed.), Colonialism and culture (pp. 319–352). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stoler, A. L. (1995). Race and the education of desire: Foucault’s history of sexuality and the colonial order of things. Durham: Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Subrahmanyam, S. (2005). Explorations in connected histories: Mughals and Franks. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Swartz, D. (1997). Culture & power: The sociology of Pierre Bourdieu. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tarde, G. (1903). The laws of imitation. New York: H. Holt and Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thapar, R. (1980). Durkheim and Weber on theories of society and race relating to pre-colonial India. In UNESCO (Ed.), Sociological theories: Race and colonialism (pp. 93–116). Paris: UNESCO.

    Google Scholar 

  • Toynbee, A. (1884). Lectures on the industrial revolution in England. London: Rivingtons.

    Google Scholar 

  • Turner, B. S. (1978). Marx and the end of orientalism. London: George Allen & Unwin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Venn, C. (2006). The postcolonial challenge. London: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wallerstein, I. (1974). The modern world-system. New York: Academic.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wallerstein, I. (1980). The modern world-system II: Mercantilism and the consolidation of the European world-economy, 1600–1750. Boston: Academic Press, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wallerstein, I. (1989). The modern world-system III. The second era of great expansion of the capitalist world economy, 1730-1840s. Boston: Academic Press, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wallerstein, I. (1990). The French revolution as a world-historical event. In F. Fehér (Ed.), The French revolution and the birth of modernity (pp. 117–132). Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wallerstein, I. (1997). Eurocentrism and its avatars. New Left Review, 1(226), 93–107.

    Google Scholar 

  • Washbrook, D. (1997). From comparative sociology to global history: Britain and India in the pre-history of modernity. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 40(4), 410–433.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Williams, P., & Chrisman, L. (Eds.). (1994). Colonial discourse and post-colonial theory. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Yacine, T. (2004). Pierre Bourdieu in Algeria at war: notes on the birth of an engaged ethnosociology. Ethnography, 5(4), 487–509.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Young, R. (1990). White mythologies: Writing history and the west. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Young, R. (2001). Postcolonialism: An historical introduction. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Young, R. (2003). Postcolonialism: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zimmerman, A. (2006). Decolonizing weber. Postcolonial Studies, 9(1), 53–79.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

Versions of this article have been presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association and the Social Science History Association. For comments on this article or parts of the argument, the author thanks Neil Gross, Rob Jansen, Raka Ray, Isaac Reed, the Editors of Theory & Society, and two anonymous reviewers.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Julian Go.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Go, J. For a postcolonial sociology. Theor Soc 42, 25–55 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11186-012-9184-6

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11186-012-9184-6

Keywords

Navigation