Research Requirements

Research Requirements

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Why advanced countries are more into research of social sciences than the developing world? And particularly, one can find the research of various disciplines of social sciences relating to developing countries in the developed world, rather than the original country. The reasons are obvious:

1) Funds : Social sciences are (and particularly disciplines like History etc) are low down on priority, compared to setting up engineering & medical institutions. Definitely, a developing country would like to have the meagre funds made available for developing industrial and health infrastructure rather than some archaic social science research that might be only of intellectual interest to very few.

2) As most of the other countries have been ‘fed up’, by the Western interpretations of their histories (and cultures), and being newly independent- much focus have gone into viewing their own cultures from their ‘own’ point of view. (eg. I am reminded of Rhodesia, where there has been a reinterpretation of role played by Rhodes in colonising that place). In this regard, for example, the writing of local histories form a very important aspect, that had largely been neglected during the colonial times. The focus on ‘micro’ is fairly perceptible. This means that many times the obsession of the developed west with the macro and trend issues is not quite relevant for the third world social sciences. Such researches in many ways do not get well publicised as they are too local for the global thinking.

3) Major original source material is available in the erstwhile imperial countries. This is concerned not just with ‘modern’ world & imperialism, but also many of the artefacts of ancient times that have been sifted off from their original locations to the museums in the western
countries. Consequently, we see important works that have been done even in fields of ancient periods, much of that has been done in the western universities, many of these by non-western scholars.

4) The education syllabus contines to be archaic in the developing countries. This means that the world is continued to be looked at as it was at least a quarter century ago. The politics of education is more perceptible, where the education policy makers remain obcessed with certain issues of local importance and thereby hampering the development of social science disciplines. It goes without saying, that there is lot of ideology issues in such education eg. in India the History discipline has been plagued by the rightist and the leftist view controversy, and that in many ways have hampered the bringing of the history syllabus to the requirements of the post modern world.

5) An equally important aspect is that gradually it is being realised that English as a medium of education is more useful in development of skills. In such situation, I think that it would become increasingly difficult to find works in local languages that becomes the inputs of such disciplines like History, Sociology, Anthropology etc. and reflects these disciplines in a more local flavour, rather than as a distant alien and impersonal discipline. This popularity of English is increasing even in places like China and in countries of SE Asia, and even in some of the non-english speaking European countries. We can say this to be another casualty of globalisation.

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