On Other Terms: Interfering in Social Science English

The Sociological Review


'International' social science is mostly done in English. This squeezes out the intellectual possibilities of other languages. This book explores what happens if we open a few doors and invite in some of these possibilities. 

Authors who live and work in at least nine languages present ethnographic case studies of people on the move, healing, cleaning, ways of sharing, living with land, sea and fellow beings, and melancholy politics. They also explain why standard English terms such as 'migration', 'commons', 'breed', 'wilderness', 'critique' or 'knowledge' are beside the point in those settings.

The words that they use instead are not just interesting ethnographic specificities. Though they emerge from fieldwork, these non-English terms are also striking, compelling and/or contestable analytical tools. Tools that would enliven our intellectual conversations and change the meaning of 'international' if they were welcomed into academic debate. The book thus argues the need for a transformed social science that does not seek to stabilise its concepts but welcomes the hesitations, ambivalences, fluidities and tensions that come with other terms

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