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The Relevance of Postcolonial Theoretical Perspectives to Research in Aboriginal Health Pertinence des approches post-colonialistes pour la recherche en santé autochtone

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Abstract:

The authors critically examine the relevance of postcolonial theoretical perspectives to nursing research in the area of Aboriginal health. They discuss key theoretical underpinnings of postcolonial theory, citing differences and commonalities in postcolonial theory, postcolonial indigenous thinking, and other forms of critical theory. Drawing on insights from Aboriginal scholars, they critique the relevance of postcolonial discourses to issues of concern to Aboriginal peoples, and the potential limitations of those discourses. They then consider the implications of conducting research that is informed by postcolonial perspectives. They argue that postcolonial perspectives provide direction for research with Aboriginal communities in 4 interrelated ways. These are focused on (a) issues of partnership and "voice" in the research process, (b) a commitment to engaging in praxis-oriented inquiry, (c) understanding how continuities from the past shape the present context of health and health care, and (d) the colonizing potential of research. The authors draw attention to the concept of cultural safety as an instrument for incorporating postcolonial perspectives into the realm of nursing. To illustrate applications of postcolonial theory, they give examples from recent research conducted in partnership with Aboriginal communities. Although postcolonial theories are relatively new in nursing discourses, they provide a powerful analytical framework for considering the legacy of the colonial past and the neocolonial present as the context in which health care is delivered.

French
Dans cet article, les auteures analysent la pertinence des approches post-colonialistes pour la recherche en sciences infirmières dans le domaine de la santé autochtone. Elles résument d'abord les principaux fondements de ces théories, leurs points communs et leurs divergences, puis abordent la pensée autochtone post-colonialiste dans son ensemble et d'autres courants théoriques. Elles s'inspirent également des réflexions de certains penseurs autochtones, proposant une analyse critique des discours post-colonialistes à la lumière des préoccupations des peuples autochtones, pour en exposer les limites éventuelles. Ensuite, Browne, Smye et Varcoe examinent ce qu'implique mener des recherches auprès des communautés autochtones, dans un cadre éclairé par une perspective postcolonialiste. D'après les auteures, cette approche comporte quatre implications interdépendantes : a) la question des partenariats de recherche et de la « prise de parole »; b) un engagement en faveur de recherches axées sur la praxis; c) un examen des facteurs historiques ayant contribué à façonner le cadre actuel en matière de santé et de soins; et d) l'aspect éventuellement colonisateur de la recherche. Les auteures soulignent l'utilité du concept de « sécurité culturelle » en tant qu'instrument pouvant servir à intégrer une approche post-colonialiste dans la sphère des soins infirmiers. Pour en illustrer l'application, elles donnent comme exemple des travaux récents effectués en collaboration avec certaines communautés autochtones. Même si l'intégration des analyses post-colonialistes est un fait relativement nouveau en sciences infirmières, celles-ci fournissent un cadre d'analyse solide et des plus utiles à l'examen des facteurs issus du colonialisme et du néocolonialisme qui ont une incidence sur le cadre de prestation de soins de santé.

Keywords: ABORIGINAL HEALTH; CRITICAL INQUIRY; CULTURAL SAFETY; FIRST NATIONS; INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE; INDIGENOUS PEOPLE; INEQUITIES; NURSING RESEARCH; POSTCOLONIAL THEORIES; RACIALIZATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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