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Communal Self: A Central Reconceptualization to Dismantle Colonial Structures and Practices of Mental Health and Wellness

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Definition

This chapter offers the concept of the communal self as a central construct to advance the decolonization of mental health and wellness. Utilizing first-person voicing consistent with Indigenist scholarship, this chapter articulates the alignment of the communal self with Indigenous conceptualizations of selfhood, its origin, and potential contributions to psychological theory, research, education, and practice.

The communal self draws from critical hermeneutic and Indigenist philosophy, and socio-cultural and critical theoretical perspectives to elucidate selfhood as a socially constituted accomplishment, fostered in relationality within interrelated systems of meanings that are situated in larger historical, social, cultural, economic, and political contexts. It considers how self-interpretations help shape the way neoliberal societies are organized and governed based on beliefs and practices concerning the nature of selves. The chapter considers the influence, expertise,...

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Identifying nation of membership is an Indigenous convention in academic and non-academic circles; a way to situate the cultural teachings and traditions to which one subscribes and practices, and to avoid damaging pan-Indigenous understandings and approaches.

  2. 2.

    Singular they, their, themselves will be used herein to honour gender inclusive language.

  3. 3.

    Nikolas Rose (1999) defines autonomization and responsibilization as the processes by which neoliberal governments divest themselves from responsibility to wide social equity and reform by placing the burden of welfare onto individuals, and their ability to exercise their choices and freedom responsibly.

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Lacerda-Vandenborn, E. (2023). Communal Self: A Central Reconceptualization to Dismantle Colonial Structures and Practices of Mental Health and Wellness. In: Lester, J.N., O'Reilly, M. (eds) The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Critical Perspectives on Mental Health. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-12852-4_41-1

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