Challenging the assumption that that the capitalist transformation includes a radical break with the past, this edited volume traces how historically older forms of social inequality are transformed but persist in the present to shape the social structure of contemporary societies in the global South.
Each society comprises an interpretation of itself – including the meaning of life, the concept of a human being and the notion of a collective. This volume studies the interpretation that various societies have of themselves. This interpretation is referred to as social ontology. All chapters of the edited volume focus on the relation between social ontology and structures of inequality. They argue that each society comprises several historical layers of social ontology that correspond to layers of inequality, which are referred to as sociocultures. Thereby, the volume explains why and how structures of inequality differ between contemporary collectives in the global South, even though all of them seem to have similar structures, institutions, and economies.
The volume is aimed at academics, students and the interested public looking for a novel theorization of social inequality pertaining to collectives in the global South.
"This volume explodes the idea that global integration yields cultural convergence. It shows the many layers and meanings of inequality and differences in the global south. In so doing, the authors illuminate how societies amalgamated old and new insights and definitions of their collective selves. This book is a model for the production of new area studies knowledge."
— Jeremey Adelman, the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History and Director of the Global History Lab at Princeton University.
"The book provides an innovative conceptual framework for an understanding of the 'social' of 'inequality', a subject becoming increasingly popular across disciplines of the social sciences. Chapters presented in the book also provide empirical case studies that both show the value of the conceptual framework suggested in the opening chapter and the significant advance that such a comparative perspective could offer to the study of social inequality. This book will have a lasting impact on the field."
— Surinder S. Jodhka, Professor of Sociology, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Benjamin Baumann and Daniel Bultmann
2. Rethinking the Social: Social Ontology, Sociocultures, and Social Inequality
Benjamin Baumann and Boike Rehbein
3. The South Against the Destroying Machine: An Interdisciplinary Attempt to Theorize Social Ontology for a Decolonial Project in the Social Sciences
4. Reconceptualizing the Cosmic Polity: The Tai mueang as a Social Ontology
5. Developmentalism and the Misacknowledgement of Socio-Ontological Difference: The Coloniality of Being in the Colombian Pacific Basin
6. The Social Ontology of Caste
Boike Rehbein and Tamer Söyler
7. Colonial Social Ontology and the Persistence of Colonial Sociocultures in Contemporary Indonesia
8. Social Ontologies as World-Making Projects: The Mueang-Pa Duality in Laos
9. Clashing Social Ontologies: A Sociological History of Political Violence in the Cambodian Elite
10. Social Inequality, Sociocultures and Social Ontology in Brazil
Emerson Ferreira Rocha and Boike Rehbein
11. Collectivity and Individuality in Contemporary Urban Kenya: Social Ontologies in Nairobi
12. Pre-Modern Local Collective Structures and their Manifestation in Contemporary Society: A Case Study from Japan
13. The Sociocultural Making of Inequality in Today’s China: Symbolic Construction and Collective Habitus