ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Audacity of Method

The dominant theories, methods or epistemologies in sociological or social anthropological work, or even in the wider human sciences, seem inadequate. In response to that challenge, and written from the “South” with due recognition of the cognitive injustices of knowledge production, this article proposes that hemispheric or other binaries need to be laid to rest. Instead, it attempts to see how encounters among a diversity of locations, expressive lives and experiences connect in messy, non-hierarchical, uncharted but resonant and associative ways, such that they insist on destabilising dominant concept or modes of theorising. The article attempts a politics which liberates straitjacketed epistemologies (like binaries) that stifle attempts at knowing or in articulating knowledges. Illustrations, broadly following a “politics of life”, are discussed to propose an alternate, inclusive and cognitively ethical mode of theorising.

I thank the anonymous EPW reviewer for a sensitive and insightful reading. Thoughtful comments from Jaivir Singh, Deepak Mehta, Adil Hasan Khan and my Spring Cohort at the Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus, during 2014 have been invaluable in giving these imaginings some shape, however incomplete.


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