Thinking Against Empire: Anticolonial Thought as Social Theory

Thinking Against Empire: Anticolonial Thought as Social Theory

Go J.

Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

Romanovskiy N.V. (Translater)

Dr. Sci. (Hist.), Prof., Russian State University for Humanities, Deputy Head Editor “Sotsiologitcheskie Issledovaniya” journal, Chief Researcher, Institute of Sociology of Federal Сenter for Applied and Theoretical research, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia

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Go J., Romanovskiy N.V. Thinking Against Empire: Anticolonial Thought as Social Theory. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2024. No 1. P. 15-27


Sociology was born in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a project in, of, and for empire. This essay excavates a tradition of social thought that grew alongside metropolitan sociology but has been marginalized by it: anticolonial thought. Emerging from anticolonial movements, writers and thinkers, anticolonial thought in 19th and 20th centuries emerged from a variety of thinkers (from indigenous activists in the Americas to educated elites in the American, Francophone and British colonies). I argue that this body of thought offers distinct visions of society, social relations, and social structure, along with generative analytic approaches to the social self, social solidarity and global relations – among other themes. Anticolonial thought offers the basis for an alternative canon and corpus of sociological thinking to which we might turn as we seek to revitalize and decolonize sociology. Keywords:

anticolonial thought; empire; imperialism; postcolonial theory; social theory


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