Social Sciences in Arab Countries Facing a Scientific Multi-Versalism: Pathways, Challenges and Constraints - Culture & Dialogue

Social Sciences in Arab Countries Facing a Scientific Multi-Versalism: Pathways, Challenges and Constraints - Culture & Dialogue

International Conference

Social Sciences in Arab Countries Facing a Scientific Multi-Versalism: Pathways, Challenges and Constraints

American University Beirut. Picture by Joi / Creative Common License

8-9 July 2011 at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. 

The era of globalization has created new needs for social science knowledge. Beyond the need to produce new knowledge about more „foreign‟ societies and policies, the arrival of a “multi-polar” world makes knowledge about different regions indispensible. This reflection goes far beyond the understanding of social realities of individual nation states: the “global” has become a new social reality for each nation-based society, across all these societies.

Social sciences do not only need to contribute to an understanding of „foreign‟ social realities and provide the analytical categories that allow conceptualizing international change and its effects - such as “modernization”, “globalization”, or “multi-polarity”. They also need to simultaneously incorporate the international dimensions required to seize the effects of globalization on the historically nationally constructed societies, and produce knowledge that integrates this new international social reality.

However, due to emergence of categories used by the social sciences in the context of nation-states, namely in Europe/North America, any international collaborative knowledge production is confronted with the fact that these categories have strong conceptual ties with particular nation-states and their societal cultures. This worldwide spread of Western categories created the international standards of a scientific universalism. Social sciences in countries beyond the West, to which the concept of nation-state had been exported, rarely gained a sufficiently powerful tradition to interrogate the original concepts and categories of the social sciences that emerged in the context of the European societies.

The emergence of a multi-polar science world with many emerging and strong science communities in East-Asia, India and Latin America and, last but not least, in the Arab countries, indicate the end of the exclusive reign of Western social sciences and the beginning of a new era of international social science collaborations.

In order to observe the reconfiguration of space and power through globalization, we need to allow conflicting interpretations of globalization, open to the plurality of cultural realities and schemes of interpretation, as a pre-requisite to the construction of truly universal social sciences and humanities. This process will very likely need numerous reformulations and multiple dialogues and interactions among the individuals, groups and institutions that generate knowledge on social realities. This creation of a new multi-polar global social science will inevitably have to go through a phase that we might call “scientific multi-versalism”: Incorporating conceptual contradictions in an epistemological paradox of a pluralism of universalism.

This conference is presented by The Lebanese Association for Sociology, Knowwhy Global Research, the American University Beirut, World SSH Net, the International Social Science Council and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Middle East. It is and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Middle East. It is a lead-up event to the ISSC 2012 World Social Science Forum.

Event Information

Date: 8-9 July 2011
Location: College Hall, Auditorium B1, American University Beirut, Lebanon


Inauguration and welcome talks

09.00 – 09.15

Peter Dorman, President, AUB
Michael Kuhn, President, World SSH Net
Chebib Diab, President, LSA
Layla Al Zubaidi, Director, HBF- Middle East

Section 1 (Morning 8 July 2011)

Approaches towards internationalisation: social sciences and humanities in the era of globalisation
Chair: Ahmad Baalbaki and Jacques Kabbanji

09.15 – 09.45

A world social science system beyond the hegemony of the Western concept of science
Michael Kuhn, Germany

09.45 – 10.15

Internationalization of social research: A case in Lebanon
Sari Hanafi and Justine Baer, Lebanon

10.15 – 10.45

 Coffee break

10.45 – 11.15

Indigenised while internationalised: Tensions and dilemmas in China’s modern transformation of social sciences
Rui Yang, China

11.15 - 11.45

Arab social sciences and it’s internationalisation – some epistemological issues
Yousef Salame, Syria

11.45 - 12.15

Isn't anthropology already a multiversalist discipline? Assessing the status of anthropology in Asian social sciences
Nestor Castro, Philippines

12.15 - 13.00

General Discussion Section 1

13.00 – 14.00

Lunch break

Section 2 (Afternoon 8 July 2011)

Theories traveling between spaces of knowledge production
Chair: Boulos Wehbe and Rigas Arvanitis

14.00 – 14.30

The ‘internationalization’ of social sciences as an ‘obstacle’ in understanding the on-going Arab revolts
Jacques Kabbanji, Lebanon

14.30 – 15.00

La lecture africaine de Michel Foucault
Léon-Marie Nkolo Njodo, Cameroon

15.00 - 15.30

Teaching Giddens in the Arab world
Ray Jureidini, Lebanon

15.30 – 16.00

Coffee break

16.00 – 16.30

A periphery’s bind: geographical location, conceptual resources and public engagement in Lebanese social scientific practice
Fadi Bardawil, Samer Frangie, Germany& Lebanon

16.30 - 17.00

Scientific knowledge on migration in/from Africa or Arab countries
Lama Kabbanji, France

17.00 – 17.30

Knowledge production: A perspective from the periphery?
Carmen Bueno Castellanos, Mexico

17.30 – 18.00

Between Arab and Western universities: similarities and differences in the graduate studies
Melhem Chaoul, Lebanon

18.00 - 18.30

Research priorities in Egyptian sociology
Ahmad Badawi, Egypt

18.30 - 19.00

Sociological university production in Lebanon: A bibliographic analysis
Hala Awada, Lebanon

19.00- 19.30

General Discussion Section 2

Section 3 (Morning 9 July 2011)

Collaboration and encounters
Chair: Marlene Nasser and Sari Hanafi

09.00 – 09.30

Cultural translation, civilization encounter and social reflexivity. A note on Sociology in Japan
Shujiro Yazawa, Japan

09.30 – 10.00

Scientific collaboration within the Mediterranean: the practical making of ‘International’ knowledge
Rigas Arvanitis, Lebanon

10.00 – 10.30

The Franco-Maghrebi co-opoperation: between national traditions and the new liberalism of the EU
Adel Selmi, France

10.30 – 11.00

Coffee Break

11.00 – 11.30

La pratique de la sociologie au Maroc à l'épreuve de l'internationalisation des savoirs
Kamal Mellakh, Morocco

11.30 – 12.30

General Discussion Section 3

12.30 – 13.30

Lunch break

Section 4 (Afternoon 9 July 2011)

Approaches towards multi-versal knowledge production
Chair: Rafif Rida Sidawi and Michael Kuhn

13.30 – 14.00

The dynamics of global social knowledge transformation processes
Hebe Vessuri, Venezuela

14.00 – 14.30

An alternative concept of culture with an Islamic outlook
Mahmoud Dhaouadi, Tunisia

14.30 – 15.00

Observing the call for Islamisation of the scientific social science knowledge
Wiebke Keim, Germany

15.00 – 15.30

Coffee break

15.30 – 16.00

Alternative intellectual practice in Tamil Nadu and their possible lessons for Arab social sciences
Kumaran Rajagopal, India

16.00 – 18.00

General Discussion Section 4 and Concluding Discussion


Farewell and end of Conference

18.00 – 19.00

Business meeting of the World SSH Net
(For network members and all other workshop participants)

Preparatory Discussion Forum

Prior to the conference an online discussion forum about issues crosscutting the individual
papers will be available. The World SSH Net will offer an opportunity for such a discussion forum.

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