Postcolonial and decolonial differences

Amid academic fondness for embracing trends and ‘turns’, it is reasonable to ask about the actual difference between post- and decolonial perspectives and to consider whether this difference warrants our attention. This lemma seeks to provide some answers, engaging critically with key arguments by decolonial scholars on how their work differs from postcolonial perspectives. I argue that we should pay attention to the key debates sparked by the ‘decolonial turn’ while avoiding the use of buzzwords and strawman arguments. Additionally, I demonstrate the synergies and frictions between post-/decolonial writings within peace and conflict studies, focusing specifically on the deconstruction and reconstruction of human rights.

Peace in the Anthropocene

The interlinked climate, pollution and biodiversity crises are increasingly becoming the subject of peace and conflict studies and are playing an important role in peace work and conflict transformation through approaches such as environmental peacebuilding. In the context of societal relationships with nature in colonial modernity, however, the relationships between humans and the environment are usually only questioned in terms of their benefits, or in terms of their potential for causing or exacerbating conflicts and their consequences for humans.

Pluriversal peacebuilding

Pluriversality is a concept from decolonial theory that names the existence of irreducibly plural ways of knowing and being that connect people to one another and to the world(s) around them. Decolonial theory reveals how modern Eurocentric epistemologies support their claims to universality by eradicating resources for imagining and enacting alternatives to a world structured according to the racialized, gendered, territorialized, and capitalist logics of modernity.

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