Breaking the Mold: Normative Hybridity as the Key to Contemporary “Non-Western” Political Theorizing

American Political Science Review. Published online 2024:1-14. doi:10.1017/S0003055424000194

What normative compass can appropriately ground a theory for contemporary “non-Western” societies? This question has become urgent amid the pressure to decolonize political science and academia. The hybridity of numerous contemporary non-Western societies means that political theorists cannot refuse to engage with either Western-originated or premodern Indigenous concepts and ways of thinking that bear on the local public culture. However, these normative strands alone are unsuitable for grounding a contemporary theory. This methodological dilemma can be overcome if theorists adopt normative hybridity as a methodological stance. Normative hybridity suggests that hybridity is not only a feature of the theorist’s context of reference but should also be their modus operandi. Normative hybridity already underpins relevant works in contemporary Confucian political theory. Drawing from these works, I illustrate three methods to apply normative hybridity to theory building. This novel methodological approach uniquely addresses current political theory discussions and influences non-Western policymaking.

Leave a Reply