Social sciences and social reality in Central America

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Social sciences and social reality in Central America

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The poverty and weakness of Central America, combined with its potential strategic importance in world politics, have made this region extremely vulnerable to external intellectual and political influences. The result of these influences has been national political processes guided by European notions of Conservatism, Liberalism and Socialism, and a social sciences tradition that is trapped in the intellectual ethos of its mid-nineteenth century European precursors. This article argues that the Eurocentric theoretical orientation dominating Central American social sciences ignores the fact that the relation between time and space that conditioned the evolution of Europe is qualitatively different from that which has influenced the political evolution of Central America since 1492. Different time/space relations have produced different kinds of States as well as different political actors and institutions. The main challenge faced by the Central American social sciences today is to identify these differences and to study and treat them as Central American normalities, rather than as deviations from pre-established European patterns.

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