Undoing Colonialism in Psychology


A recent article published in Psychology and Developing Societies shows how decolonizing psychology is understood (or misunderstood) and the impact it has on making Psychology a liberating project. The article is written by Umesh Bharte of the University of Mumbai and Arvind Mishra of Jawahar Lal Nehru University.

Decolonisation simply means the process of gaining independence from the economic, political, and cultural dominance of colonial powers. But this is not as simple as it looks. All of these are also related to the social psyche of the colonised society, that is, the way people think, feel, behave etc.

The authors present their argument using three central points. One, colonialism was not as simple as colonizers imposing their views, but a joint project between the colonizers and the colonised. Two, even after gaining freedom from colonial rule, these societies still hold on to the values that made colonialism possible. Three, the binary approach adopted by indigenous psychology, like Local vs Global, Indigenous vs Western is likely to fail in meeting the goal of decolonisation. The authors, then, suggest two probable solutions for these issues. First, the adoption of a dialectical approach, and second, engaging in critical cultural psychoanalysis. Read the rest of this article on Mad in South Asia