Postcolonial Methodology as the Challenge for XXI Century Humanist Sociology

Dr Robert Geisler
University of Opole, Poland
Social agency concept in one of the meaning regards to the postcolonial theory. Postcolonial theory grew up on the critical scientific and political discourse in Third World in the second half of XX century and concerns definitions of colonial states and their cultures by Western Civilization. In the colonialism era, subordinated states and their citizens were treated as object, what meant disposals them and specific creation of knowledge about them, representations (Said). Emancipation of such cultures and states from imperial character of colonial states at the end of 20 century didn’t contribute to breakup ties with the centre of the World. There were bottom-up tendencies of activity in defining social world and on the other hand imposing knowledge and kinds of defining the world by centre/dominant culture. It appeared new, hybrid model of influence dominant cultures and independent subordinates cultures (Appadurai, Venn).

Postcolonial theory has proposed also methodological level. Social agency was defined in this case as activity of scientists and researchers comes from Third World, former colonies and dependent cultures. It had appeared methodological demand regarding ‘giving voice’ researchers coming from the same culture as object of the research. It such case there is no barrier in crossing cultures. First determinant is discourse analysis (Foucault). Postcolonial theory emphasized that discourses about Third World were produces in Western Civilization. Methodological activity assumes that researchers coming from such territories better know this culture and do not have any problems with understanding language and culture (Bhabha, Venn). It caused to anthropology of development protesting research “aliens” and “others”. Second determinant is hermeneutics which is possible with the assumption of community of origin of researchers and object of the research (group, society or culture).

The main aim of the article will be to present main points of postcolonial methodology as the example for making qualitative research in humanist sociology in the postmodern and globalized era.