Postcolonial theory and Canada’s health care professions: bridging the gap

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (3):433-442 (2021)
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Abstract

In recent years there have been several calls in professional and academic journals for healthcare personnel in Canada to raise the profile of postcolonial theory as a theoretical and explanatory framework for their practice with Indigenous people. In this paper I explore some of the challenges that are likely to confront those healthcare personnel in engaging with postcolonial theory in a training context. I consider these challenges in relation to three areas of conflict. First I consider conflicts around paradigms of knowledge, wherein postcolonial theory operates from a different base from most professional knowledge in health care. Second I consider conflicts of ideology, wherein postcolonial theory is largely at odds with Canada’s political and popular cultures. And finally I consider issues around the question of Canada’s legitimacy, which postcolonial theory puts in doubt. I suggest ways in which these conflicts might be addressed and managed in the training context, and also identify potential positive outcomes that would be enabling for healthcare personnel, and might also contribute to an improvement in Canada’s relationship with its indigenous peoples.

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Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Orientalism.Edward Said - 1978 - Vintage.
Pedagogy of the oppressed.Paulo Freire - 2004 - In David J. Flinders & Stephen J. Thornton (eds.), The Curriculum Studies Reader. Routledge.

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