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Indigenization of Social Sciences: Facing Challenges of Academic Dependency


Imperialism has resulted in East’s dependency to the West countries. Intellectual imperialism was more direct in colonial period, whereas today it has more to do with the West’s control of and influence over the flow of social scientific knowledge. This form of hegemony was “not imposed by the West through colonial domination, but accepted willingly with confident enthusiasm by scholars and planners of the former colonial territories and even in the few countries that remained independent during that period”.If in the colonial past, academic imperialism was maintained via colonial power, today academic neo-colonialism is maintained via the condition of academic dependency.

Academic dependency is a condition in which the knowledge productions of certain scholarly communities are conditioned by the development and growth of knowledge of other scholarly communities to which the former is subjected (Alatas, 2003). Social sciences dependency may appear due to dependency of ideas, idea gathering media, educational  technology, research fund and learning system,  educational investment, and Western demand and skills. This academic dependency may be caused by the lack of an indigenous approach of social sciences.

A strategy of indigenization is by establishing identity construction. It is that of revisiting or reinterpreting South East Asian tradition and culture. Proponents of this strategy try to pinpoint useful traits and attributes in traditional Asian concepts and ideas and to reinterpret them. They argue that South East Asian indigenous concepts and ideas can be sources of modern theory development. This conference aims to address the challenges of social sciences’ academic dependency.


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