Decolonizing Liberation: Toward a Transnational Feminist Psychology
Department of Psychology and Women's Studies Program, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA, USA
Department of Psychology and Kansas African Studies Center, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA
This paper engages the theme of “decolonizing psychological science” in the context of a perspective on psychological theory and research—namely, feminist psychology—that shares an emphasis on broad liberation. Although conceived as a universal theory and practice of liberation, scholars across diverse sites have suggested that feminism—perhaps especially as it manifests in psychological science—is not always compatible with and at times is even contradictory to global struggles for decolonization. The liberatory impulse of feminist psychology falls short of its potential not only because of its grounding in neocolonial legacies of hegemonic feminisms, but also because of its complicity with neocolonial tendencies of hegemonic psychological science. In response to these concerns, we draw upon on perspectives of transnational feminisms and cultural psychology as tools to decolonize (feminist) psychology. We then propose the possibility of a (transnational) feminist psychology that takes the epistemological position of people in various marginalized majority-world settings as a resource to rethink conventional scientific wisdom and liberate “liberation”. Rather than freeing some women to better participate in global domination, a transnational feminist psychology illuminates sustainable ways of being that are consistent with broader liberation of humanity in general.