Opinion

It’s time to see the world through a new prism, not just that of ‘the West’

The South African media can — and should — ask more difficult questions about global affairs, and not just follow a Eurocentric approach

29 December 2019 - 00:00 By ISMAIL LAGARDIEN

Most of the reports that South Africans read in the press about world affairs typically use Europe or North America as reference points. The use of “the West” may have to do with the fact that international relations (the academic discipline) remains what was once described as “an American social science”. The framing of world affairs tends to be through the perspectives taught in European/North American institutions.

This does not invalidate what we read in the press, it simply requires deeper thinking, and a prismatic change in the questions we ask, and how we report on issues. While there have been powerful, and intellectually coherent and progressive challenges to mainstream thought in academia, especially from postcolonial theorists (I certainly don’t buy into all their ideas), the media in SA seems, for the most part, to reproduce cornerstone beliefs, values, theories and even the rhetoric from Washington, Whitehall or Brussels. It remains, in short, rather Eurocentric...

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