The CSLC aspires to become an international centre of excellence, play an important role in the project of reinvigorating and decolonizing the social sciences, and become a leader in innovative research and education on local social problems.
Develop a research centre at Kuvempu University that will engage in research on the issues of caste/inequality and pluralism/conflict in local society.
§ Train rural students in reading, writing and advanced social science research of international standard.
§ Promote alternative strategies for conflict resolution by taking the traditional practical knowledge of the local communities into account. Develop insights into how cultural problems play a decisive role in development policies and state projects.
§ Establish a feedback loop between academic research and local communities, self-government bodies, policy makers and NGOs.
In the course of the last four years, Kuvempu University, in collaboration with Ghent University, set up a joint research project on caste and community in the rural areas of Karnataka. Its success generated the idea of developing the Centre for the Study of Local Cultures. In 2005, a VLIR South Initiative was initiated, which trained some of the faculty members of the School of Social Sciences at Kuvempu University. Today, the CSLC consists of a group of scholars trained in this project, a vibrant group of promising PhD students, well-equipped research areas as well as a constantly growing research library. In June 2006, a European Commission Asia-Link project on the stereotypical images and cultural differences between Europe and South Asia began. The project established a large-scale educational network between five universities of four nations, including Kuvempu University. The project identified some of the major problems afflicting the social sciences in India today: a virtually non-existent social scientific research culture; the detachment of the dominant theories from local society; the absence of research training; the limited access to relevant literature; etc. The Indian researchers in this project have joint hands in setting up the Centre for the Study of Local Cultures in order to do something about this state of affairs by building a strong group of researchers, trained in the best research practices, and engaged in research on the problems of local society.