Sociology of the Global South - SO627

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 6 15 (7.5) DR JY Zhang checkmark-circle


The course aims to develop an empirically grounded and theoretically engaged understanding of how social experience from the Global South informs, corrects and extends contemporary sociological theorisation and norms of sociological investigation. The module consists of three parts: 1) By putting the Global South and its power struggle in historical context, the module starts with critical examination on the blind spots of our presumed 'global' or 'cosmopolitan' social outlook. It problematises the once taken-for-granted universality of Eurocentric norms and discusses what good social research should look like. It also provides in-depth critique on the socio-political limitations of alternative theorisation from the Global South. 2) After establishing a solid historical and conceptual understanding of key debates, this module uses region-specific lectures (e.g. China, India and Africa) to deepen understanding on the Global South’s views on universality and difference, resistance and subversion, national and transnational solidarities. 3) This module concludes with methodological and conceptual reflections on mainstream sociology


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

22 hours

Method of assessment

Coursework - Individual seminar presentation (10 minutes) – 20%
Coursework - Essay (3,000 words) – 80%

Indicative reading

Connell,R (2007) Southern Theory: the global dynamics of knowledge in social science, Cambridge: Polity

de Sousa Santos, B. (2014) Epistemologies of the South: Justice Against Epistemicide. London: Routledge.

Gilroy, P (2004) After Empire: Melancholia or Convivial Culture?: Multiculture or Postcolonial Melancholia. London, New York: Routledge.

Mignolo, W.D. and Walsh, C.E. (2018) On Decoloniality. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Modonesi, M. (2013) Subalternity, Antagonism, Autonomy: Constructing the Political Subject, London: Pluto Press

Morris, R. (2010) Can the Subaltern Speak?: Reflections on the History of an Idea. New York: Columbia University Press

Said, E.W. (1978) Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:-
- Critically discuss the historical context of contemporary dominance in sociological discourse by North American and European academia and its consequences.
- Possess a systematic understanding of the key debates and main actors in (re)shaping a truly global sociology
- Demonstrate critical understanding of key concepts, theories and methodological innovations emerging from the Global South and be able to use these ideas and methods to enrich their own sociological analysis in their third year dissertation.
- Demonstrate an informed and critical appreciation of the ambiguity and limits of 'global sociology' and assess the strength and limitation of current mainstream sociological discourses.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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