/ Sociologies in dialogue and Post-Western Theory

[CONFERENCE REPORTEE EN DEC. 2023] Duo Conference with Sari Hanafi and Laurence Roulleau-Berger : "Non-hegemonic Sociology and New Dialogues"

22 mars 2023, à l’ENS de Lyon, site Descartes, amphi Descartes


les deux conférences auront lieu en français

10:00 am-10:15 am : Introduction

10:15 am-11:00 am : Sari Hanafi, Professor of sociology at American University of Beirut Director of Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies and Chair of the Islamic Studies program, President of the International Sociological Association :
Toward a Dialogical Sociology

  • Hanafi Sari is currently a Professor of Sociology, Director of Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies and Chair of the Islamic Studies program at the American University of Beirut. He is the President of the International Sociological Association. He is as well editor of Idafat : the Arab Journal of Sociology. He is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters on the sociology of religion ; connection of moral philosophy to the social sciences ; the sociology of (forced) migration applied to the Palestinian refugees ; politics of scientific research. Among his recent co-authored books are The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of the Middle East (with A. Salvatore and K. Obuse) and Knowledge Production in the Arab World : The Impossible Promise (with R. Arvanitis) and The rupture between the religious and social sciences (Forthcoming in Oxford University Press). In 2019, 8 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the National University of San Marcos and in 2022 he became lifetime corresponding fellow of the British Academy.
    Sari Hanafi wrote the postface of the Handbook of Post-Western Sociology. From East Asia to Europe. co-edited by L. Roulleau-Berger, Li Peilin, Kim Seung-Kuk, Shujiro Yazawa forthcoming in March 2023 by Brill Publishers.

While the social sciences put emphasis on four epistemological imperatives : descriptive, conceptual and interpretative and normative, this paper questions the last one. The main questions I raise for this talk is : What’s Wrong with the Social Sciences Today ? why do they have little leverage with society ? Not to cite more than three intertwined phenomena, we witness 1) increasing trends of inequality, precarity and exclusion, 2) more hierarchical polarization of society and 3) people moving to the Right. I argue for this talk that this is a problem of normativity of a large strand of sociologists/social scientists (classically liberal but politically illiberal left – in short “Liberal Fundamentalism”) who use extensively radical criticism. They are part of different segments and sectors of life including the media, politics, law, and academia, and come in varied shades and sizes, including many countries in the global south and north under the effects of global convergence. I propose to redress this entanglement by proposing what I call Dialogical social sciences, based on a political (communitarian) liberal project. By building Dialogical social sciences on an amended version of Rawlsian political liberalism, it claims to distinctiveness as it starts not from metaphysical assumptions, abstract ideals, or cultural preferences but from the world as it operates. Its utopia starts in the reality of existing social and political arrangements and interacts the civic sphere. Thus, this Dialogical Sociology is rather a methodology that connects sociology to moral and political philosophy. It considers values that sociology, as a normative science, defends are sociological and not simply philosophical themes, meaning that these values cannot be reasoned independently of how we experience them.

11:00 am-11:45 am  : Laurence Roulleau-Berger, Research Director at CNRS, HDR in sociology Triangle, ENS Lyon : Toward Post-Western Sociology. From East Asia to Europe

  • Laurence Roulleau-Berger is Research Director at CNRS, Triangle, ENS of Lyon, PhD Supervisor in sociology. She is the French Director of the International Advanced Laboratory ENS Lyon/CNRS -Chinese Academy of Social Social Sciences Post-Western Sociology in Europe and in China. She has led numerous research programs in Europe and in China in urban sociology, economic sociology, and sociology of migration over thirty years. Since 2006, she is involved in an epistemological way on the fabric of post-Western sociology paradigm. She has published numerous books, articles and chapters, among the most recent : Post-Western Revolution in Sociology. From China to Europe (2016) ; Young Chinese Migrants, Compressed Individual and Global Condition (2021) ; Sociology of Migration and Post- Western Theory, co-ed. with Liu Yuzhao (2022) ; co-edit with Li Peilin, Kim Seung-Kuk, Shujiro Yazawa (2023), Handbook of Post-Western Sociology. From East Asia to Europe, Brill Publishers, forthcoming in 2023 March. In 2021 she was awarded Life Fellow, Global China Academy, British Academy.

In social sciences the challenge that has developed over the past twenty years is a major one, revolving as it does around the question of the international recognition of non-Western knowledge. From the production of an epistemology shared with European, Chinese, Japanese and Korean sociologists, we have proposed a Post-Western Sociology to enable a dialogue – held on an equal footing – on European and Asian theories, to consider the continuities and discontinuities, the conjunctions and disjunctions between sociological knowledge spaces situated in different social contexts, to work on the gaps/intervals between them. Post-Western Sociology is producing an ecology of diverse knowledges from Asia and Europe. From this ecology of knowledge between the “Western-West”, the “non-Western-West”, the “Western East”, the “Eastern East”, and the” re-Easternized East” situated on an epistemological continuum we can observe, on one hand, the multiplication of epistemic autonomies vis-à-vis Western hegemonies, and, on another hand, epistemic assemblages between European and Asian sociologies. This groundbreaking contribution is to co-produce a Post-Western Space in a cross-pollinization process where “Western” and “non-Western” knowledges do interact, articulated through cosmovisions, as well as the co-production of transnational fieldwork practices. Post-Western Sociology is above all relational, dialogue-based and multi-situated.

11:45 am-1:00 pm : Discussion opened by Ahmed Boubeker, Professor of sociology at University Jean- Monnet, Centre Max Weber.

  • Ahmed Boubeker is Professor of sociology and former deputy director of Centre Max Weber at Lyon University. His research interests are sociology of migrations, ethnicity, and postcolonial studies. His representative works are : De Tokyo à Kinshasa. Postmodernité et postcolonialisme (Editions L’harmattan, 2021) ; Les Plissures du social. Des circonstances de l’ethnicité dans une société fragmentée (Presses Universitaires de Lorraine, 2016) ; Les non lieux des immigrations en Lorraine. Mémoire et invisibilité sociale (Presses Universitaires de Lorraine, 2016) ; Les mondes de l’ethnicité (Balland, 2003) ; and Familles de l’intégration (Stock, 1999).
/ Sociologies in dialogue and Post-Western Theory