Decolonizing Social Sciences in postcolonial countries: Reflection on the Social Sciences in Indonesia




Decolonizing; Social sciences; Indonesia.


This study re-scrutinizes the construction of social sciences in Indonesia determined the face of Indonesia today. The aim is to reveal power relations between the power regime and the the social sciences of production in Indonesia through discourse and historical dimensions, because the discourse dimension determines what is called true by a knowledge regime, while the historical dimension reveals the political context. The method used is qualitative research, while the approach used is decolonizing interpretative approach. This approach focuses on three things, namely: the critical influence on the hegemonic knowledge regime, the historicity of knowledge created from a certain social context, and the political economy that determines the interest of knowledge. The results of this study are (1) there are three hegemonic paradigms in the development of social sciences in Indonesia, namely; the Indological paradigm introduced by the Dutch colonial government, the modern social science paradigm introduced by the United States (US), and the contemporary social science paradigm under the influence of the market (neoliberalism); (2) as a response to the three paradigms, Indonesian intellectuals formulated a decolonization project which was articulated in three forms, namely; the indigenization of social sciences was initiated by the researchers at Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Nusantara Philosophy was initiated by the scholars at the Faculty of Philosophy, Universitas Gadjah Mada University, and the Islamization of knowledge or the integrated knowledge was initiated by the muslim scholars at the Islamic States Universities.

Author Biography

Misnal Munir, Universitas Gadjah Mada

Misnal Munir is a lecturer in Departement of Philosophy at Universitas Gadjah Mada


Abdullah, A. (2006). Islamic Studies di Perguruan Tinggi: Pendekatan Integratif-Interkoneksi. Pustaka Pelajar.

Al-Attas, S. M. N. (1993). Islam and Secularism. International Institute of Islamic Thouhgt and Cilivation.

Alfaruqi, I. S. (1997). Islamization of Knowledge: General Principles and Work Plans. The International Institute of Islamic Thought.

Alvares, C. (2011a). A critique of Eurocentric Social Science and the Question of Alternatives. Economic and Political Weekly, 46(22), 72–81.

Alvares, C. (2011b). Steeped in Eurocentrism. Economic and Political Weekly, 46(42), 77–79.

Amin, S. (2009). Eurocentrism (Secon Edit). Monthly Review Press.

Anderson, A. (2010). Nasionalisme Indonesia: Kini Dan Di Masa Depan. Penerbitan Anjing Galak.

Anderson, B. (2006). Imagined Communities: Reflection on the Origin and Spred of Nationalism. (Revised Edition). Verso.

Barry, J. (2011). Knowledge as Power, Knowledge as Capital: A Political Economy Critique of Modern “Academic Capitalism.” The Irish Review, 43(43), 14–25.

Baur, N. (2021). Decolonizing Social Science Methodology: Positionality in the German-language Debate. Historical Social Research, 46(2), 205–243.

Budiardjo, M. (1995). Pengantar. In Kahin. Nasionalisme dan Revolusi Indonesia (Indonesian Language Edition). UNS Press.

Bunch, A. J. (2015). Epistemic Violence in the Process of Othering: Real-World Applications and Moving Forward. Scholarly Undergraduate Research Journal at Clark, 1(2).

Darder, A. (2019). Decolonizing Interpretative Research. In A. Darder (Ed.), Decolonizing Interpretative Research: A Subaltern Methodology for Social Change (1st ed., pp. 1–36). Routledge.

Dean, J. (2021). Reflexivity and Its Limits in the Study of Social Inequalities. Historical Social Research, 46(2), 178–185.

Dhakidae, et. al. (2005). Social science and power in Indonesia (D. Dhakidae & R. V. Hadiz). Equinox Publishing.

Dirnagl, U., Misselwitz, P., Ruhrort, L., & Simon, D. (2021). Crossing Borders, Creating Together: An interdisciplinary Dialogue on Transdisciplinary Knowledge Production. Historical Social Research, 46(2), 287–312.

Fanon, F. (1963). The wretched of the Earth (T. C. Farrington (ed.)). Grove Press.

Farid, H. (2017). Agenda Dekolonisasi Kebudayaan Nasional dalam Perspektif Ki Hadjar Dewantara. Abad: Jurnal sejarah. 1, 34–50.

Farid, S. A. (2010). Diskursus Alternatif Dalam Ilmu Sosial Asia: Tanggapan Terhadap Eurosentrisme (trans.). Mizan.

Farid, S. A. (2011). Teaching Social Theory as Alternative Discourse. Economic & Political Weekly, 46(46), 48–54.


Femia, J. V. (1981). Gramsci’s Political Thought: Hegemony, Consciusness, and Revolutionary Precess. Oxford University Press.

Ghaderi, F., & Wan Yahya, W. R. (2014). Exoticism in gertrude Bell’s persian pictures. Victorian Literature and Culture, 42(1), 123–138.

Gouda, F. (1996). Dutch Culture Overseas: Colonial Practice in the Netherlands Indies, 1900-1942 (4th ed.). Amsterdam University Press.

Gouda, Frances, & Brocades Zaalberg, T. (2002). American Visions of the Netherlands East Indies/Indonesia: US Foreign Policy and Indonesian Nationalism, 1920-1949. Amsterdam University Press.

Grosh, G. K. (1968). Frantz Fanon and the African Revolution. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 6(4), 543–556. //

Habermas, J. (1971). Knowledge and Human Interests. In Beacon Press 23(4). Beacon Press.

Hadiz, R. V. (2016). Ilmu Sosial dalam Konteks Otoritarianisme, Demokrasi, dan Tuntutan Pasar. In M. S. Santoso (Ed.), Ilmu Sosial di Indonesia: Perkembangan dan Tantangan. Penerbit Obor.

Hardiman, F. B. (2009). Kritik Ideologi: Menyingkap Pertautan Kepentingan Bersama Jurgen Habermas (Ketiga). Kanisius.

Haringsma, P. (2021). University and the Legacy of Colonial Epistemicide. University World News (African Edition), 1.

Kahin, G. M. T. (1952). Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia. Cornell University Press.

Kahn, J. S. (2005). Culturalising the Indonesian Uplands. In T.M. Li (ed.), Transforming the Indonesian Uplands (2nd ed., pp. 81–106). the Taylor & Francis e-Library.

Kartanegara, M. (2005). Integrasi Ilmu: Sebuah Rekonstruksi Holistik. Mizan.

King, R. (1999). Orientalism and Religion: Postcolonial Theory, India and the “Mystic East.” Routledge.

Kleden, I. (1987). Sikap Ilmiah dan Kritik Kebudayaan. LP3ES.

Knoblauch, H. (2021). Reflexive Methodology and The Empirical Theory of Science. Historical Social Research, 46(2), 59–79.

Laclau, E., & Mouffe, C. (1985). Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards A Radical Democratic Politics. Verso.

Li, Tania Murray. (2002). Keterpinggiran, Kekuasaan dan Produksi: Analisis Terhadap Transformasi Daerah Pedalaman. In Tania Murray Li (ed.), Proses Transformasi Daerah Pedalaman di Indonesia. Penerbit Obor Indonesia.

Mignolo, W. D. (2012). Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking. In Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking (pp. 1–371).

Mirsha, V., & Hodge, B. (2005). What Was Postcolonialism? New Literary History, 36(3), 375–402.

Nagel, J. (1994). Constructing Ethnicity: Creating and Recreating Ethnic Identity and Culture. Social Problems, 41(1), 152–176.

Nugroho, H. (2005). The Political Economy of Higher Education: the University as an Arena for the Ttruggle for Power. In D. Dhakidae & R. V. Hadiz (eds.), Social science and power in Indonesia (1st ed., pp. 145–165). Equinox Publishing.

Nugroho, Heru. (2012). Negara, Universitas, dan Banalitas Intelektual: Sebuah Refleksi Kritis dari Dalam. Pidato Pengukuhan Guru Besar, 1–25.

Philpott, S. (2000). Rethinking Indonesia: Postcolonial Theory, Authoritarianism and Identity. Macmillan Press & ST. Martin’s Press.

Polimpung, H. Y. S. (2008). Ilusi Dekolonisasi : Psikoanalisis Lacanian dan Rekonstruksi Kolonialisme Barat. Global & Strategi, 2(1), 98–125.

Ranciere, J. (1973). On the Theory of Ideology: the Politics of Althusser). Radical Philosophy, 1–14. http://

Rizal, M. (2007). Program Riset Ilmiah Imre Lakatos. Filsafat, 17(3), 254–273.

Sadli, M. (n.d.). Reflections on Boeke ’ s Theory of Dualistic Economies (pp. 99–115).

Said, E. W. (1979). Orientalism (2nd ed.). Vintage Books.

Samuel, H. (2010). Genealogi Kekuasaan Ilmu Sosial Indonesia: Dari Kolonialisme Belanda hingga Modernisme Amerika. Kepik Ungu.

Samuel, H., & Sutopo, O. R. (2013). The Many Faces of Indonesia: Knowledge Production dan Power Relations. Asian Social Science, 9(13), 289–297.

Smith, T. S. (2012). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (2st editio). Zed Books.

Spivak, G. C., Landry, D., & MacLean, G. M. (1996). The Spivak reader: Selected works of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. In New York.

Talal Asad. (1993). Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (1st ed.). the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Tempo. (2011, November). Republik di mata Indonesianis: Pasang-surut peran peneliti asing dalam sejarah Indonesia (Special Edition). Tempo, 1–68.

Tjahyadi, S. (2011). Filsafat Nusantara: Gagasan Awal Membangun Metodologi Filsafat Indonesia. Lafinus Newsletter.

Tjahyadi, S. (2015). Refleksi Paradigma Ilmu-Ilmu Sosial. Humanika, 22(2), 47.

wa Thiong’o, N. (1987). Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature. Zimbanwe Publishing House.

Zed, M. (2017). Konstruksi Historis Ilmu Sosial Indonesia Perspektif Komparatif. In Kleden, Ignas & Abdullah (Ed.), Paradigma Ilmu Pengetahuan dan Penelitian: Ilmu-Ilmu Sosial & Humaniora di Indonesia (1st ed., pp. 193–224). LIPI Press.




How to Cite

TAKBIR, M.; MUNIR, M.; MUSTANSYIR, R. . Decolonizing Social Sciences in postcolonial countries: Reflection on the Social Sciences in Indonesia . Research, Society and Development, [S. l.], v. 11, n. 3, p. e54911327055, 2022. DOI: 10.33448/rsd-v11i3.27055. Disponível em: Acesso em: 24 jun. 2024.



Human and Social Sciences