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Unmasking the predicament of cultural voyeurism: a postcolonial analysis of international nursing placements

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RACINE L and PERRON A. Nursing Inquiry 2012; 19: 190–201 Unmasking the predicament of cultural voyeurism: a postcolonial analysis of international nursing placements

The growing interest in international nursing placements cannot be left unnoticed. After 11 years into this twenty‐first century, violations of human rights and freedom of speech, environmental disasters, and armed conflicts still create dire living conditions for men and women around the world. Nurses have an ethical duty to address issues of social justice and global health as a means to fulfil nursing’s social mandate. However, international placements raise some concerns. Drawing on the works of postcolonial theorists in nursing and social sciences, we examine the risk of replicating colonialist practices and discourses of health in international clinical placements. Referring to Bakhtin’s notions of dialogism and unfinalizability, we envision a culturally safe nursing practice arising from dialogical encounters between the Self as an Other and with the Other as an Other. We suggest that exploring the intricacies of cultural and race relations in everyday nursing practice are the premises upon which nurses can understand the broader historic, racial, gendered, political and economic contexts of global health issues. Finally, we make suggestions for developing culturally safe learning opportunities at the international level without minimizing the impact of dialogical cultural encounters occurring at the local and community levels.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Saskatchewan, College of Nursing, SK, Canada 2: University of Ottawa, School of Nursing, ON, Canada

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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