Decolonising Identity: The pyschology of Coloniality

Why it is essential if we are to thrive in a post-colonial world
Research Paper

Decolonising Identity: The pyschology of Coloniality

Beyond the conventional understanding of coloniality, can we pierce through the rhetoric and examine the more insidious and pervasive psychological aspects of it?


Colonialism is not dead; it has merely changed its face. The policy of af oreign nation seeking to dominate an indigenous population to further its own interests is an uncomfortable but common feature in the past of many developed western nations. By 1800, Europeans controlled at least 35% of the globe; by 1914 their control had expanded to encompass 84% of the globe.

More of the same

Today the very same internal colonialist impetus, the ‘spirit of empire’, is driving entities incommerce, politics and religion to manifest the external features ofcolonialist empires; a ruthless drive to grow, dominate, exploit andincrease their control globally. The perception that the age ofcolonialism has come to an end is at best a misleading grosssimplification and at worst a deliberate attempt to obscure howpowerful ‘colonialist’ organisations and entities have gained andretained their power in our ‘post-colonial’ world.

Key Messages

From where does the ‘spirit of empire’ and the instinct todominate and exploit arise? I argue that there are specific preconditions that are necessary for any external expression of the colonialist impetusor colonialist instinct to manifest. The colonialist instinct is preciselythat which makes individuals and groups choose to exploit anddominate others for self-gain and benefit. Through the course of this exploration, I will show how many of the greatest challenges we faceas a globalising community arise from the colonialist instinct, which seeks to dominate, diminish, exploit and extract value with little consideration of the implications and cost to others. I will go on to show that the various external manifestations of this instinct are rootedwithin and arise from the same source.

Further Reading