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The counter-hegemonic Theory from the South (2012), which inspires this collection, invites scholars to turn around the leading epistemic approach that wants theories to be produced in the North, and then circulate in or be applied to the South. The legal sciences are no exception. If we were to look at the extensive production of texts on legal theory written by Egyptian scholars, we would—by and large—find a telling incarnation of that leading epistemic approach that Theory from the South intends to critique and dismantle.
By upending this hegemonic approach, Jean and John Comaroff suggest that we may gain insights “into the workings of the world at large” (1). So, if works on legal theory in Egypt can often simply inform us on the circulation and reception of theories produced in the North, we then need to turn to other sites of knowledge production. Jean and John Comaroff point us to a very thin concept: the grounded theory. Its thinness and under-determinacy allow great freedom since one such critical theory can be produced by anyone engaged in a praxis “whose object is to arrive at a principled sense of connection between what it is that constitutes the lived world and how that world is affectively and cognitively experienced, acted upon, inhabited by sentient human subjects” (48-49).