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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: February 2020

5 - Political Sociology and the Postcolonial Perspective

from I - Theories of Political Sociology


What can postcolonial theory teach us about politics and society? Part of that depends upon what “postcolonial theory” is. First and foremost, it must be clarified that postcolonial theory is not reducible to a singular “theory” in the conventional sense. It is not a set of ordered hypotheses about the social world or a “singular logically integrated causal explanation” (Calhoun 1995: 5). It is not concerned with meeting Homans’ requirement that “causal explanation” constitutes theory (Homans 1964). While it might include certain causal statements, postcolonial theory is not restricted to them. Postcolonial theory is better thought of as a perspective or worldview. To draw from Abend’s definition of theory, it is a “Weltanschauung, that is, an overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world” (Abend 2008). From this perspective, one might derive hypothetical causal statements.

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