Most of the reports 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 media; 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 rhetoric from Washington, Whitehall or Brussels. It remains, in short, rather Eurocentric.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now