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Mr. Sujay Rao Mandavilli

Managing Director, Institute for the Study of the globalisation of science

Achiever's Success Story

Re-orienting Social Sciences for the Twenty first century and beyond: The quest for a viable roadmap for the Social Sciences

Sujay Rao Mandavilli is an ex-IT professional and an Anthropologist and researcher with major contributions to various fields of Anthropology and Social Sciences. He is the son of an Indian Institute of Technology professor, and the intellectual climate he imbibed at the Indian Institute of Technology campus in Chennai and his experiences with different kinds of people right from an early age as well as in diverse professions later on in life, stood him in very good stead, by providing him with unique  insights on different aspects of everyday life. His aptitude for science and research manifested itself at a young age when he built a telescope at the age of ten. By the time he was fourteen, he had grasped the basics of Einstein’s theory of relativity and would often lecture to his friends about it. 

Over the years, he has made major contributions to Anthropological Economics, the Sociology of Science, Theories of socio-cultural change, Identity theory, Historiography, Language dynamics, Indo-European studies, the Aryan Problem, the origin of Brahmi and the identity of the Harappans. He also completed his Masters in Anthropology from the prestigious Indira Gandhi National Open University in New Delhi, India in 2020 with a first class, and acquired membership of many scientific institutions. His hypothesis is that most fields of social sciences are based on Eurocentric paradigms, and that better theories can only come from intellectual multipolarity and ethnographic data collected from different parts of the world, and an experiential knowledge of different cultures. Thus, people from diverse cultural backgrounds must participate in scientific endeavour in  the social sciences. This applies to fields such as Economics, Sociology and Anthropology where concepts were developed based on European or American points of view, and often with a view to maintain their cultural hegemony. Ideology and a lack of scientific awareness also drive research in other parts of the world, and there is little desire for objectivity in many countries outside Europe and North America. Elsewhere, ivory tower approaches dominate, and while most researchers harp on academic freedom, and pursue careerism, there is very little awareness of researchers’ social duties and responsibilities.

He also strongly believes that intellectual revolutions must take place in India as they took place in the West several centuries ago. This belief was reinforced when he interviewed many high school students and college graduates who did not have even basic scientific knowledge despite having spent years in school or college. These fundamental deficiencies must be attributed to outdated pedagogical methods. Likewise, Economic models and concepts are still based on the neoclassical tradition born out of the western experience. In reality however, attitudes towards wealth, money and life vary from culture to culture, and cultural and social capital can play a major role in determining economic outcomes. He believes, that the time has come to bring about fundamental changes to research and pedagogy. The downstream implications of his work are huge, and hopes to attract and inspire a new generation of thought leaders to create new paradigms in various fields of the social science.

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