Sign up for Alice Newsletter

Book Review – Epistemologies of the South, by Hugh Lacey

Lacey, Hugh (2014), “Science, emancipation and the variety of forms of knowledge”, Book Review

Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Epistemologies of the South: Justice against epistemicide. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2014


“Epistemologies of the South explores ‘‘a set of inquiries into the construction and validation of knowledge born in struggle, of ways of knowing developed by social groups as part of their resistance against the systematic injustices and oppressions caused by capitalism, colonialism and patriarchy’’ (x). The author, Boaventura de Sousa Santos—Professor of Sociology at the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and Distinguished Legal Scholar at the University of Wisconsin–Madison—is one of the leading intellectuals of the World Social Forum (WSF), the network of organizations from the ‘‘global South’’ that challenge the current dominant order, and whose activities are often informed by experiences, aspirations and understanding that lie outside of the comprehension of the world as provided by mainstream scientific, economic and social theories. Through the WSF, Santos has made profound contact with the knowledge, forms of knowledge (FoKs), their strengths and limitations, and the practices informed by them, of people from many nations and cultures from the ‘‘global South’’, including indigenous peoples. (For a variety of concrete examples, see Santos 2007a). The author draws provocative implications from this about science and how it should be interpreted. In this review, I will focus on three of them [...]“

Please, read the full version of the review here.