Strategies for Decolonization
(1) Deconstruction and reconstruction. This refers to destroying what has
wrongly been written—for instance, interrogating distortions of people’s
life experiences, negative labeling, deficit theorizing, genetically deficient
or culturally deficient models that pathologized the colonized Other.
(2) Self-determination and social justice. This refers to the struggle by those marginalized by Western research hegemony to seek legitimacy for methodologies embedded in the histories, experiences, ways of perceiving realities, and value systems.
(3) Ethics. There is a need to recognize—and where none exists, formulate,
legislate, disseminate, and make known and understood internationally—
ethical issues and legislation that protect indigenous knowledge systems.
(4) Language: recovering and revitalizing, validating indigenous knowledge and cultures of the historically marginalized, and thus creating space to decenter hegemonic Western research paradigms.
(5) Internationalization of indigenous experiences. Struggle collectively for self-determination.
(6) History. People must study the past to recover their history, culture, and
language to enable a reconstruction of what was lost that is useful to inform
(7) Critique. There is a need to critique the imperial model of research, which
continues to deny the colonized and historically marginalized other space to
communicate from their own frames of reference.
- Linda Tuhiwai Smith, University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand.