Papers in Autonomous Knowledge

Eurocentric, androcentric, nationalist and sectarian assumptions still inform a great part of studies regarding the history, society and culture of the Malay-Indonesian Archipelago, and the Third World in general. Eurocentric orientations determine research agendas and choices of theories in the work undertaken by scholars outside of the West. At the same time, the production of knowledge is still dominated by androcentric, nationalist and sectarian interests. The problems of knowledge production encompass internal and external factors.

The recognition that knowledge production is beset by such problems led to responses by some of our scholars. Among them was Syed Hussein Alatas who called for the generation of an autonomous social science tradition. This call was heeded by two generations of scholars such that there emerged a tradition in knowledge production that is referred to as the School of Autonomous Knowledge, In this tradition, theory building, concept formation, the application of methods in the social sciences and humanities, and the understanding of phenomena, are undertaken in a manner that is relevant to the society concerned and is opposed to Eurocentric, androcentric, nationalist and sectarian interests.