Non-indigenous and indigenous decolonisations: Andy Fisher, ‘Ecopsychology as Decolonial Praxis’, Ecopsychology, 2019


Abstract: In this article, I advance the idea of ecopsychology as a form of decolonial praxis. If, as I suggest, ecopsychology is a project to overcome the fracturing of reality into the separate regions of Psyche, Nature, and Society, then we must ask how these regions became so disconnected in the first place. The answer I offer here is that these divisions are inherent in modern capitalist civilization, which survives to this day only through continuous processes of disconnection and colonization. It follows that decolonization is the deepest context for developing ecopsychology’s theory and practice aimed at reintegrating Psyche, Nature, and Society. In order not to conflate non-Indigenous or settler decolonization with Indigenous decolonization, I introduce the term “lifeworld decolonization” for the former. This distinction allows us to recognize the complex overlap between these two forms of decolonization, which makes room for solidarity, while granting a specific primacy to Indigenous decolonization and underscoring how non-Indigenous peoples have historically benefited from colonialism. Indeed, turning toward the topic of Indigenous decolonization forces an “unsettling” of ecopsychology, which may lead the field toward a more coherent, mature, reflexive, and historically relevant understanding of itself. In the course of my argument, I engage with the ontological and decolonial turns in social theory in order to demonstrate what the transformation of Psychology into ecopsychology might involve when the field both learns from and commits itself toward Indigenous decolonization.

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