Toward decolonizing nursing: the colonization of nursing and strategies for increasing the counter-narrative


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Abstract

Although there are notable exceptions, examination of nursing's participation in colonizing processes and practices has not taken hold in nursing's consciousness or political agenda. Critical analyses, based on the examination of politics and power of the structural determinants of health, continue to be marginalized in the profession. The goals of this discussion article are to underscore the urgent need to further articulate postcolonial theory in nursing and to contribute to nursing knowledge about paths to work toward decolonizing the profession. The authors begin with a description of unifying themes in postcolonial theory, with an emphasis on colonized subjectivities and imperialism; the application of a critical social science perspective, including postcolonial feminist theory; and the project of working toward decolonization. Processes involved in the colonization of nursing are described in detail, including colonization of nursing's intellectual development and the white privilege and racism that sustain colonizing thinking and action in nursing. The authors conclude with strategies to increase the counter-narrative to continued colonization, with a focus on critical social justice, human rights and the structural determinants of health.

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