Interdisciplinary Exchange at the Workshop on “Global South Perspectives”



On 20 April 2017, the Workshop on “Global South Perspectives” was organised by the research group “Migration, China, and the Global Context” with generous sponsorship by the Max Weber Foundation and the Faculty of Social Sciences, HKBU. The workshop gathered local and overseas scholars to discuss theoretical and empirical perspectives gained in the Global South with the aim of de-centering and revising scholarship from the Global North. It united scholars from a wide variety of regions, including Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan, India, the Phillipines, Pakistan, Turkey, Poland, France and Germany, and from a wide variety of disciplines. This rich mixture sparked a very fruitful exchange of perspectives and mutual enrichment, and a vibrant and innovative dialogue pervaded the meeting.

The meeting was initiated by an excellent keynote speech introducing a world-premiering theoretical framework of the concept of “cultural inequality” by Dr. Matthew Chew, Sociology Department of HKBU. The workshop also featured six panel sessions on the topics of migration , race and ethnicity, general theory, gender and sexualities, historical approaches, and work and globalising economies. Some highlights of the workshop included: a discussion of how mainstream ontological and epistemological approaches in the Social Sciences are influenced by notions stemming from Western Philosophy such as dialectics, and how concepts from non-Western Philosophical schools could serve to diversify these approaches; a discussion how the Chinese concept xing could be made fruitful for broader understandings of sexuality; a debate on the greater need to investigate privilege along with discrimination and marginalization; and a discussion on the power of social scientists to reinscribe power relations which they are advocating against, e.g. by using terms with different connotations for different migrant groups. The workshop received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the participants and from an attending senior Max Weber Foundation member.