Decolonizing Psychological Science: Introduction to the Special Thematic Section


  • Glenn Adams
  • Ignacio Dobles
  • Luis H. Gómez
  • Tuğçe Kurtiş
  • Ludwin E. Molina


Despite unprecedented access to information and diffusion of knowledge across the globe, the bulk of work in mainstream psychological science still reflects and promotes the interests of a privileged minority of people in affluent centers of the modern global order. Compared to other social science disciplines, there are few critical voices who reflect on the Euro-American colonial character of psychological science, particularly its relationship to ongoing processes of domination that facilitate growth for a privileged minority but undermine sustainability for the global majority. Moved by mounting concerns about ongoing forms of multiple oppression (including racialized violence, economic injustice, unsustainable over-development, and ecological damage), we proposed a special thematic section and issued a call for papers devoted to the topic of "decolonizing psychological science". In this introduction to the special section, we first discuss two perspectives—liberation psychology and cultural psychology—that have informed our approach to the topic. We then discuss manifestations of coloniality in psychological science and describe three approaches to decolonization—indigenization, accompaniment, and denaturalization—that emerge from contributions to the special section. We conclude with an invitation to readers to submit their own original contributions to an ongoing effort to create an online collection of digitally linked articles on the topic of decolonizing psychological science.