Proceedings Journal Article — Constructing Decolonizing Methodologies: Theories and Praxes of Difference — by Jemadari Kamara & Tony Van Der Meer

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The United States government’s post 9/11 domestic and international policies are important reasons to revisit the work of Edward Said. The implications of his writing for those most culturally and politically marginalized are extremely salient. In this essay we see that critique ofracism parallels the ideas of Said’s Orientalism (1979). We engage these ideas comparatively, and as our title suggests, explore the process of constructing decolonizing methodologies.

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Abstract

The United States government’s post 9/11 domestic and international policies are important reasons to revisit the work of Edward Said. The implications of his writing for those most culturally and politically marginalized are extremely salient. In this essay we see that critique ofracism parallels the ideas of Said’s Orientalism (1979). We engage these ideas comparatively, and as our title suggests, explore the process of constructing decolonizing methodologies. Edward Said discussed the necessary conditions required for “the other” to be able to confront theoppressor’s injustices. However, this is a necessary but insufficient step in social resolution. Said further illuminated the structural character ofoppression. It is the institutionalization of the process that produces the capacity for systemic reproduction. Therefore, achieving systemic change must be an objective. Even with the best of intentions, unabated structural inequality will lead to increased tension and resistance.Some open, public discussion must occur regarding resources required to repair and redevelop those harmed. Reparations are part of the resolution which must be considered. The systematic use of violence as a vehicle to impose the colonial order has produced a twenty first century cultural environment where violence is endemic. Achieving reconciliation without disarmament (or minimally a truce) is a recipe for frustration. The creation of a new cultural environment is what’s required. The transformation of values, guaranteeing a basic human quality oflife, health care, housing and education, is possible if we have the political will. It is essential to demonstrate cross cultural respect, social justice and economic inclusion. Because if society doesn’t, there will be no peace.

Kamara, Jemadari, and  Tony Van Der Meer. 2005. “Constructing Decolonizing Methodologies: Theories and Praxes of Difference.” Pp. 135-144 in Theories and Praxes of Difference: Revisiting Edward Said in the Age of New Globalizations: Proceedings of the Second Annual Social Theory Forum, April 6-7, 2005 (Discourse of Sociological Practice, Vol. 7, Issues 1&2, Fall/Spring 2005). Double-Issue Guest Editor: Mohammad H. Tamdgidi. Sociology Department, UMass Boston.


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