Decoloniality as a social issue for psychological study

Readsura Decolonial Editorial Collective (2022). Decoloniality as a social issue for psychological study. Journal of Social Issues, 78(1) pp. 7–26.



This article provides a theoretical introduction to a two-installment special issue on decolonial approaches to the psychological study of social issues. Decolonial approaches propose that colonial violence is not confined to the distant past (i.e., colonialism); instead, it persists as coloniality: racialized ways of thinking and being associated with Eurocentric global domination. Rather than characterizing modernity and its individualist psychological manifestations as progress, decolonial theorists use modernity/coloniality to illuminate the colonial violence inherent in the modern order and inseparable from modern individualist development. One implication of a decolonial framework is that colonial violence extends beyond physical space to psychological space, such that complete liberation requires forms of psychological decolonization. Accordingly, articles in this first installment consider decoloniality as a social issue for psychological analysis not only to address historical trauma, internalized inferiority, and other forms of psychological violence among the (formerly) colonized but also to recognize the coloniality in features of Eurocentric modernity—e.g., mainstream environmentalism, prevailing articulations of human rights education, or modern individualist lifeways—that appear liberal or progressive.

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