Overcoming the Sociological Problematization of Latin America
Dimitri della Faille
Piece published on September 15, 2015 at: http://www.panoramas.pitt.edu/content/overcoming-sociological-problematization-latin-america
More than ten years ago I started to reflect on how sociology is seizing Latin America as an object of study. My goal was to acquire more knowledge about sociology in and about Latin America. But, perhaps at least as importantly, my goal was also to understand how sociology is representing the region and how it is participating in its transformation. At a more conceptual level, I was interested in how sociology selects social problems and suggests social change. Ultimately, this is helping me forge opinions about knowledge and social sciences.
For many reasons, some of which are presented in this text, I think Latin America should be protected from sociological problematization or the process by which social phenomena are represented in terms of problems. Here, I would like to reflect on social science and society. This is not just a summary of my major findings. I am using this summary as an excuse to discuss on the problematization of Latin America. Let me start by briefly summarizing some of my research results and then by reflecting on problematization and the colonialism of knowledge. To do so, I will be attempting to answer the question “Should we protect Latin America against sociology?”
Sociological Representations of Latin America
I did my dissertation on United States sociology about Latin America between 1945 and 1970, in the context of the Cold War. I did my post-doctoral research on Mexican sociological literature published between the 1980’s and the first decade of the 2000’s. I conducted this research using various methodologies including interviews, analysis of historical documents and computer assisted text analysis. This work has resulted in around ten scientific articles published in English, Spanish and French; which some of the references are found here below.