Puzzlement of a déjà vu: Illuminaries of the global South

Puwar, Nirmal. 2020. Puzzlement of a déjà vu: Illuminaries of the global South. The Sociological Review, 68(3), pp. 540-556. ISSN 0038-0261 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The act of de-centring established Euro-North American sites and flows of knowledge, as long standing geo-political anchors of epistemological authority, is by its very nature a continuous process of undoing, relearning and creating. The very position of being a messenger from the ‘North’, of knowledge and theory from the ‘South’ can re-produce the same patterns the undertaking seeks to unsettle. The context in which academic performativity is shaped is integral to both the making and taking of space in intellectual circuits of production and circulation. This paper considers how centre-staging in academia performatively involves particular features. As a case in point, the focus will be on the centre-staging of Boaventura de Sousa Santos (epistemology of the South) and Raewyn Connell (Southern Theory), who have become globally known for insisting on bringing knowledge from the South to the North. The wider ecology of the global circuits of academia, as well as their own performative dramaturgy, constitute points of observation. A self-enterprising ownership of big global conceptual programmes platforms them in the decentring of knowledge. There is a leap frogging over former stocks of published academic knowledge, as well as a centre staging of knowledge projects, whereby it is they who become the flag bearers of this enterprise. Within this process it is important to recognise who is illuminated. Bibliographic tracks become traced over, in the very ways in which they respectively map fields, to situate their own points of intervention.

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Additional Information:

For a Special Issue edited by Gurminder Bhambra


academic performativity, epistemology of the south, global ambassadors global sociology southern theory

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR)


29 October 2019Accepted
18 December 2019Published Online
1 May 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

04 Nov 2019 10:33

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 22:57

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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