The intellectual marginalisation of Africa : African Identities

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Obeng-Odoom , F 2019 , ' The intellectual marginalisation of Africa : African Identities ' , African identities , vol. 17 , no. 3-4 , pp. 211-224 .

Title: The intellectual marginalisation of Africa : African Identities
Author: Obeng-Odoom, F.
Contributor organization: Global Development Studies
Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies (Urbaria)
Helsinki Inequality Initiative (INEQ)
Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
Date: 2019
Language: eng
Number of pages: 14
Belongs to series: African identities
ISSN: 1472-5843
Abstract: The intellectual marginalisation of Africa is often explained in terms of the lack of human capital. However, the peripheralization and systemic neglect of excellent research published in Africa problematise the human capital thesis and, ironically, demonstrate that the appeal to ‘Southern theory’ is not a panacea either. Although these perspectives are quite distinct, both seek to explain, and ultimately redress, Africa’s intellectual marginalisation apart from, not as part of, Africa’s marginalised position in the world system. The growing gulf between the use of knowledge produced in Africa and that in the metropole as well as little metropoles in the continent is patterned after global inequalities–not just differences in levels of human capital or the underappreciation of African knowledge systems. The historical and continuing concentration of the instruments of knowledge production in the hands of elites, the inferiorisation of the contribution of Africans, especially women, and the peripheralization of African outlets of production and dissemination have been central to the creation and persistence of this intellectual marginalisation. Creating structures of dependence and imitative research neither critical of, nor confrontational to, power imbalances is one outcome which, in turn, further legitimises the status quo because its resulting knowledge is unlikely to challenge the hegemony of the global north. This knowledge hierarchy reinforces the privileged status of knowledge produced in the north, while seeking to undermine the potential transformative power of southern knowledge. If so, merely seeking to develop ‘Southern theory’ is an ineffective alternative to the human capital thesis. © 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Subject: Africa
digital divide
Intellectual inequalities
knowledge divide
519 Social and economic geography
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by_nc
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion

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