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On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
Print version ISSN 0018-229X


MUKHERJI, Partha Nath. The universal in the particular: Universalising social science - Comparative possibilities. Historia [online]. 2009, vol.54, n.1, pp.129-146. ISSN 2309-8392.

Two epistemological questions relating to the universalisation of the social sciences have been raised in this article. First, the social sciences that originated in the West are indigenous to the West, but are they necessarily universal for the rest? Second, can the universal always explain the particular, unless the universals in the particulars contribute to the construction of the universal? An argument is made for the indigenisation - as opposed to parochialisation - of the social sciences in the non-Western world in reaching out to the goal of universalising the social sciences. The way to go about it is to design researches that are able to generalise beyond the context. Indigenously designed research has to emancipate itself from the "captive mind" syndrome and follow the "logic of inquiry" driven by theoretical-methodological rigour. The argument is illustrated by critiquing the relevance of the concepts and theories of Western "modernity" and "multiculturalism" in the Indian, South Asian context.

Keywords : Assimilation; captive mind; common good; community development; Eurocentrism; generalisability; globalisation; indigeneity; integration; multiculturalism; nation state; panchayati raj; paradigms; parochialisation; pluralism; subsidiarity; tradition; universalisation; utopistic; Western modernity.

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