Biomedical Research and Global Sustainability: Throwing off the straitjacket of hierarchical thinking, making space for nomadic thinking
The biomedical paradigm, characterised by the separation of human from nature, of mind
from body, and of ‘us’ from ‘them’, is encrusted with the jewels of western exploitation. Its
legacy, one of many, has been to permit critical thinking to be infused with the domination of
scientific knowledge over indigenous knowledge, of expert experience over patient
experience, and of western knowledge over knowledge from other regions. Planetary
sustainability has put us all into an uncomfortable liminal space where there is an urgent need
to develop new ways of thinking to navigate the complexity and uncertainties of the
Anthropocene. The decolonization/dismantling of the historically biased, epistemically rigid,
hierarchical thinking that has led us to the brink of environmental collapse must re-centre a
more ‘nomadic’ or ‘rhizomic’ type of thinking that works against the grain of traditional
western categories and conventional methods, making breathing space for experiential
person-centred, ecological wisdom to blossom. What might this look like for global health and
academia? Practicing medicine using an ecological lens; a system with geographically diverse
representation in the authorship of scientific literature; methodological diversity in the top
journals, placing qualitative research, stories and art on an equal footing with Randomised
Controlled Trials; and editorial boards composed in part of lay members. A more inclusive
academe, through Cultural Safety, where works from patients, service users, indigenous
community voices are published alongside and co-produced with expert/professional
communities is a step in the right direction.
Keywords: Decolonization, Anthropocene, epidemiology, epistemology, evidence-based medicine, Indigenous, ecology, diversity, nomadic, medical pluralism.
Reconstituting Somalia: The false characterisation of Somalia as a failed state
This essay examines the concept of the ‘failed state’ from a theoretical and empirical
perspective arguing that the false characterisation of Somalia as a failed state has severe
consequences on the future of state building. The popularization of ‘failed state’ in the political
lexicon has proven to be problematic when analysing states such as Somalia, as the term has
inbuilt contradictions and inconsistencies that makes it worthless as a political tool for
analysis yet have severe and tangible consequences on state building. This article aims to
debunk the myth of ‘failed states’ from a theoretical perspective by exposing the legacy of
coloniality in statehood and the role of external agents in destabilizing Somalia, drawing on
Constructivist and Post-Colonial theory to do so. Domestic state building projects in Somalia
are repeatedly undermined and destabilized because the label of ‘failure’ has restricted the
notion of governance to conform to a Western ideal. The Somali context demonstrates that the
clan, a historic entity of socio-political order, and Islam are legitimate sources of governance
and security beyond the state. By exploring indigenous state building projects, with a tight
focus on clannism and the Islamic Court Union (ICU) movement, Somalia proves to be an
arena for competing political realities showcasing that the reality of the situation is more
complex than initially thought. This article examines the implications of using the ‘failed state’
as an approach, concluding that processes of state building are Western and extremely
particular, and need to actively integrate the Somali identity in processes of state building and
as such how governance is conceptualized needs to be re-evaluated.
Keywords: Somalia, ‘failed state’ approach, state building, Islamic Court Union (ICU), clan, Post-Colonial theory
Book Review: Returning Southeast Asia's Past: Objects, Museums, and Restitution
It is a rare and pleasant event when a topic about which you are preparing to write enters the daily news schedule in a positive way. Just as I was devouring Returning Southeast Asia’s Past in readiness for a book review, I learned of the completion of a process initiated by Glasgow Museums to return seven objects back to India; thought to be the first such return from a UK museum to India, it brings hope that more will soon follow, and can be considered as a timely indication that attitudes towards restitution, among some UK institutions at least, may be changing...
Decolonial Subversions Reading Group II
The second online meeting of the Decolonial Subversions Reading Group took place on Friday 4th March 2022 and the attendees were (in alphabetical order): Ibtisam, Monika, Muraina and Vincenzo. Surprisingly, even though most of the participants were different, some points raised during the previous meeting were touched also on this occasion, such as the selection of sources in academia based on their validity, and the extent of their general recognition when these sources are part of non-mainstream research approaches...
Manifesto, Arabic version
تم اقتراح فكرة هذا البيان من قبل مونيكا هيرمرMonika Hirmer ، أحد المحررين المؤسسين لـتقويضات ديكولونيالية، التي شعرت أن المنصة بحاجة إلى اتجاه أكثر نشاطا جذريا. بناء على محادثات أو حوارات متعددة مع المحرر المؤسس الدكتورة رومينا إستراتي Romina Istratii، اقترحت مونيكا أولاً بيانا أطول ، والذي على الرغم من أنه يعكس على نطاق واسع دوافع وقيم كلا المحررتين، فقد تأثر بشكل كبير بنهج مونيكا الخاص في إنهاء الاستعمار. لذلك اتفقوا على صياغة بيان أكثر إيجازا من أجل تحديد المبادئ المشتركة التي ألهمت أعمال تقويضات ديكلونيالية. تم نشر بيان مونيكا الخاص في مساحة منفصلة مخصصة لاستكشاف الاتجاهات المتعددة التي قد تتخذها هذه المنصة (راجع بيان مونيكا الأصلي). نرحب بردود الفعل أو التعابير الجديدة ردا على البيان الأساسي الموضح هنا. هدفنا هو تشجيع مناقشة حيوية حول الممارسة العملية أو البراكسيس العملي لإنهاء الاستعمار في سياق هذه المنصة وخارجها، بما يتماشى مع رؤيتنا بأن عمليات تقويض ديكولونيالية تبرز كمسعى تعاوني دولي يقوده المجتمع...
Decolonial Subversions Constitution
Decolonial Subversions is an open access, multilingual and multimodal publication platform. It is a collective of individuals and collaborators who participate voluntarily in its publishing work and activities, and are motivated by a common vision...