Psychology as a site for decolonial analysis

Readsura Decolonial Editorial Collective Group (2022). Psychology as a site for decolonial analysis. Journal of Social Issues, 78(2) pp. 255–277.



This article provides a conceptual introduction to the second installment of a two-issue collection of work on decolonial approaches to the psychological study of social issues. Whereas papers in the first installment consider decoloniality as a social issue for psychological study, papers in this second installment consider psychology as a site for decolonial analysis. In this article, we briefly review key concepts from decolonial theory (e.g., the coloniality of modernity, distinct from historical colonialism). We then discuss manifestations of epistemic violence in hegemonic psychology that require intervention. Epistemic violence is (not merely) a matter of epistemic exclusion of racialized others from the knowledge production process, imperialist imposition of white-washed knowledge products as universal standards without regard to context, or pathologizing forms of explanation that construct racial others as deviants in light of white-washed standards (i.e., epistemological violence; Teo, 2010). In addition, epistemic violence in psychology includes forms of harm (e.g., zero-point epistemology and individualist lifeways) associated with its modern/colonial roots. Accordingly, a decolonial approach to the psychological study of social issues may require refusal of the discipline of psychology.

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