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Decolonization and the Global South

In his seminal analysis of the East-West relationship, Said (1978) argues that knowledge and understanding of the Orient is inexorably shaped by the specific positions occupied by Europeans as colonizers, which placed them in highly asymmetrical power relations with colonized subjects. Subsequent scholars have critiqued these power relations, highlighting notions such as postcolonial mimicry, hybridity (Bhabha 1994), the psychological trauma wrought by colonialism (Fanon 1952), and even the futility of launching a critique of power, when such a critique in itself gets constrained by the discourses of colonization (Nandy 2009). Grand narratives apart, the long shadow of colonialism can be seen in the quotidian production of knowledge and practices occurring in postcolonial societies. For example, as Ellis et al (2011) suggest, academic disciplines such as marketing are permeated by Eurocentrism, with values such as individualism, and rationalism getting emphasized. Such emphases results in these values being seen as ontological “givens” rather than the products of specific cultures and time periods. In much of the global South, the establishment of educational institutions, and the use of western pedagogical devices in these institutions has resulted in local forms of knowledge getting elided (e.g., Varman and Sreekumar 2015). 

The terminology “Global South” is used to refer to developing or poor countries in general (Arrighi 2001; Alcadipani et al. 2012). Other terms such as countries of the “periphery,” and “Third World” are also used to refer to these countries, all indicative of a subordinate position (Alcadipani et al. 2012). These writings inform us that the “Global South,” far from being self-evident and natural, is very much a constructed category. The prevalence of such neo-imperialism in the management field has consequences for knowledge production and dissemination. Knowledge emanating from the so-called Third World is often exoticized, “othered,” and seen as the product of specific circumstances, whereas western knowledge is seen as universal. Moreover, as Alcadipani (2017) points out, research and pedagogy that is borrowed from the West do not fit in neatly in many non-Western contexts. Further, challenging Western hegemony in knowledge is a difficult task, given that such challenges themselves have to be posed through the frameworks and discourses invented by the West (see Alcadipani et al. 2012). Nevertheless, this conference track is an attempt to decolonize extant knowledge on management, and encourage contributions and perspectives from the Global South. We invite papers under the following broad themes. The list provided is indicative, and not exhaustive; submissions need not be limited to these themes. 

- Markets and development in the context of the Global South

- Postcolonial perspectives on markets and development

- Critiques of Eurocentrism in knowledge and pedagogy

- Alternatives to Eurocentric perspectives

- Challenges faced by scholars in giving voice to perspectives from the Global South

Queries related to this track may be addressed to Professor Hari Sreekumar: hari@iimtrichy.ac.in


Alcadipani, R. (2017). Reclaiming Sociological Reduction: Analyzing the Circulation of Management Education in the Periphery. Management Learning, 48(5), 535-51.

Alcadipani, R., Khan, F.R., Gantman, E., and Nkomo, S. (2012). Southern Voices in Management and Organization Knowledge. Organization, 19(2), 131-43.

Arrighi, G. (2001). Global Capitalism and the Persistence of the North-South Divide. Science and Society, 65(4), 469-77.

Bhabha, H.K. (1994). The Location of Culture. London and New York: Routledge.

Ellis, N., Fitchett, J., Higgins, M., Jack, G., Lim, M., Saren, M. and Tadajewski, M. (2011). Marketing: A Critical Textbook. New Delhi: Sage.

Nandy, A. (2009). The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism. New Delhi: Oxford.

Said, E.W. (1978). Orientalism. New Delhi: Penguin.

Varman, R., and Sreekumar, H. (2015). Locating the Past in its Silence: History and Marketing Theory in India. Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, 7(2), 272-79.