Written against this background, this book addresses a set of problems surrounding the state of the social sciences in Asia. It contextualizes these problems by pointing to the historical and continuing dominance over Asian social science discourses by Western paradigms and concepts.
Syed Farid Alatas documents various critiques of the state of the social sciences in Asia and critically assesses the prescriptions for alternative discourses that have emerged from these critiques. These include Orientalism, Eurocentrism, the captive mind, and both academic imperialism and dependency.
These critiques have variously generated pleas for alternative discourses, for decolonized knowledge and for indigenized social sciences. However, the author maintains, these calls for alternative discourses in the social sciences are not without their own problems. He, therefore, goes beyond documentation and critical assessment to the explicit conceptualization of relevant and irrelevant social science.
Among the important features of this book are that it has a pan-Asian focus and that it incorporates perspectives drawn from economics and sociology. It will be of interest to scholars and students of all social science disciplines but particularly for those studying sociology, cultural studies, anthropology and the theory and philosophy of the social sciences.