Afrikanizacija: Eastern European Epistemologies and African Labour

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The paper offers a critical reading of Eurocentrism and Western hegemony of social thought by highlighting the essential similarities between the African and post-1989 Eastern European experience. It argues that Eastern European local knowledge and difference should be addressed in new ways, which take into account our neo-colonial negation and subjugation in Eastern Europe. The reorientation of what I call an essentially orientalist discourse in Eastern Europe can come from renewed engagement, after a nearly thirty-year gap, with African political theory, labour activism, and resistance movements. The article offers a discussion in what ways the African experience can be paralleled with the Eastern European peripheral integration into the global capitalist economy and it argues that African social thought, which has been hitherto largely neglected in post-socialist Europe, can, indeed, have illuminating insights into a history of global marginalisation. Further, I argue, that in that sense, African social thought can be an inspiring source in order to reorient current Eastern European histories, which have been developing self-defeating, self-deprecating and self-orientalising tendencies since at least 1989. Afrikanizacija, a grand metaphor for our region's descent into a world of neo-colonialism, should also mean that we recognise the liberating and emancipating contents of African social thought especially in the fields of labour and feminism when we look for ways to fight Western hegemony.
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