Justice advancement through HPSR decolonisation: Chipping away at structures and processes
Within HPSR, power structures are reflected in the institutionalised privileging of knowledge generation and knowledge brokering by actors in the Global North. They are also evident in the prominent participation in HPSR of a privileged minority situated in the Global South. Both are legacies of colonialism, in different ways. Attempts to decolonise HPSR need to engage with these inter-related forms of power and privilege.
We wish to contribute to the discourse on decolonisation and to help shape its practice. At a fundamental level, decolonisation marks the advancement of justice. Ideas about what comprises justice and what is needed to achieve it emerge from social justice theory and decolonial theory originating in the global North and South respectively. Both literatures can actively inform HPSR approaches and initiatives aimed at decolonisation. However, we are also acutely aware of the inherent challenges in the project – the continued dominance of elites in all societies, and the risk of appropriation by elites and regressive forces across the globe. Appropriation of the decolonisation project can reverse hard won gains and perpetuate rather than challenge societal inequities. It is against such a backdrop that this webinar is proposed.
The webinar’s main purpose was to:
- Share ideas and actions that can be taken towards decolonisation of HPSR, illustrating and discussing positive transformations within the field
- Consider how the risk of appropriation of the decolonisation project can be mitigated within these activities
The webinar was organised in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust funded Decolonisation exchange in global health research and will contribute to planning the Ethics and Justice Thematic Working Group (TWG) organised session at The Seventh Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR2022) to be held in Bogota, Colombia, in late October.