Sands of Change: Overcoming First World Hegemony Over Knowledge

Justin Gaurav Murgai
Charles W. Baker

DOI: 10.2190/WR.16.3-4.k


Today, a clear Euro-American hegemony can be seen in anthropological knowledge over what is published and read globally. Online databases such as the Web of Science and Google Scholar, where most published books and articles and works cited come from the Euro-American core, illustrate this fact. The issue is not simply a lack of funding in the developing world; instead, the question is raised whether the forces behind the dissemination of anthropological knowledge are reverting to ethnocentric sentiments reminiscent of the discipline's initial foundations. With technology such as the Internet easing communication between the developed and developing worlds, why has this hegemony persisted? How can technology be used to overcome this double standard within the discipline? The World Council for Anthropological Associations (WCAA) has recently engaged in a project to create a world list of publications, providing an equal platform for accessing research from lesser-known journals from the developing world. How effective has this model been? Is there a question of credibility with regard to lesser-known journals, whether or not they are refereed, if they offer free access to content? Open access to information and a rethinking of traditional publishing models is needed to encourage the inclusion of new scholars and those from the developing world. Indeed, the only way to experience cultural relativity in the world of publishing and the academic workplace, we argue, is to encourage conversation between anthropologists from both the developing and developed worlds.

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