Insurgency, Theoretical Decolonization and Social Decolonization: Lessons From Cuban Psychology


  • Fernando Lacerda


This paper describes how Cuban Psychology is related to the longstanding process of social insurgency against colonialism in Cuba. The paper suggests that the emergence of critical ideas in Psychology does not depend only upon intellectual developments; rather, social struggles can be a driving force that catalyze the development of critical ideas in Psychology. The paper is divided in three parts. First, the text briefly touches the issue of the intrinsic ties between insurgent activity, decolonization, and critical social sciences. Second, the paper presents a general historical description of Latin America and the challenges faced during and after the Cuban Revolution. Finally, the last part the paper offers a general overview of the historical development of Cuban Psychology history in order to analyze the dialectical relations between social and theoretical decolonization. Four developments of Cuban Psychology are presented: (a) how patriotism changed studies of national identity and History of Psychology; (b) professional practices that developed to better address social issues; (c) theoretical debates about the "new human" and the active nature of subjectivity; and (d) the influence of Soviet Psychology and the turn to Latin American Critical Psychology. Concluding notes consider the dialectical relation between, on one side, struggles for socialization of power and, on the other side, theoretical production of Critical Psychologies.