Begun in 2012, the doctoral program in Social Studies at the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) is driven by the conviction that key to research is formulating the problem of research. Given that our objective was to transform MISR from a consultancy into a research unit, we summed up the difference in a sentence: in a consultancy, the client defines the question; in a research unit, the question is the prerogative and responsibility of the researcher. We argued that an adequate formulation of the research problem requires a double endeavor: on the one hand, a firm grasp of key debates in the area of research, and on the other, a contextual and historical understanding of the research question.
The MISR Review signals a long-awaited step in the development of the program at MISR. It combines a commitment to local and indeed regional knowledge production, rooted in relevant linguistic and disciplinary training, with a critical and disciplined reflection on the globalization of modern forms of knowledge and modern instruments of power. Rather than oppose the local to the global, we seek to relate the two, assessing each from the vantage point of the other.
The MISR Review is intended to serve a dual function. First, it will broadcast the intellectual work undertaken at MISR, particularly by advanced doctoral students, to the wider scholarly community. Second, we aim for it to energize and promote debate in the broader scholarly community. By shining a historical and theoretical light on the contemporary, we hope the journal will play a role in the larger process of knowledge production.