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Social science research and designs in Caribbean societies: the case of Suriname

Jack Menke

2010 Suriname, Caribbean

This article evaluates social research in Caribbean societies with a complex diversity, taking the example of Suriname. The argument is that a research method is always instrumental and consequently a context free methodology does not exist. The implication is that each method needs to be tested on its validity in the society that is being studied. Social research conceptualizations and methodologies transplanted from the global centers to Suriname are addressed, as well as the ideological implications. Recent initiatives towards conceptualizations and research designs on a variety of research topics that emerged from within the academic community in Suriname are reviewed. The differences between multicultural societies of the global centers and societies with a complex diversity are assessed, as well as the implications for social research. The article concludes with an outline for future social research of Suriname and places biodiversity high on the research agenda. This is a crosscutting theme with a high relevance for the cultural, social and economic development of Suriname that at the same time is appropriate to connect researchers of various social, bio-medical and natural sciences.

research design, social research, Caribbean, complex diversity, multicultural society