Thinking decolonial strategies in the midst of the Colombian peace process: perspectives from social psychology and decolonial studies on the racialized individual by María Cárdenas

Çiçek Uygun’s report on Thinking decolonial strategies in the midst of the Colombian peace process: perspectives from social psychology and decolonial studies on the racialized individual María Cárdenas (JLU/GCSC), January 31st

In her presentation, titled “Conducting research about political activism and anti-racism within the Colombian posacuerdo,” María Cárdenas shared the preliminary findings from her first research trip to Colombia. By introducing the political conflict which affects various racialized and ethnicized minority groups disproportionately, she raises the questions of how their aim to have an impact on the post-peace-agreement phase alters their relationship with and the performance of their own social identities, and how the latter affects their political strategies. María’s fieldwork, at its early stage, already prompts the challenges of working in a highly politicized research field, asks for a broadening of mainstream psychology, discusses anthropology’s “either/or” tendency to work with only one minority group and the political agendas of scholars in general. What’s more interesting is that, beyond such scholarly assumptions about the transition period, her field entry with Afro-Colombian and indigenous activists points towards collaborative and pragmatic strategies of the activists albeit e.g. different work cultures. The first stage of the research design aims for ethnographic interviews with a heterogeneous group of political activists and the second stage foresees two workshops to share the findings and to discuss together with the interviewees their common strategies against the colonial social order. Hence, María pushes the limits of academic research for a more reflexive approach to individual and collective positionings of both the participants and the researcher together.