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HLTC02H3 (51)
Chapter 4


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Health Studies
Toba Bryant

CHAPTER 4  A call for postcolonial theoretical perspectives to better understand how gender, class, racialization and historical positioning intersect to shape the health of individuals, communities and populations.  Feminist studies of health calling for complex analyses of gender and its intersection with other forms of social difference.  Examine the relevance of postcolonial feminist theories as frameworks for understanding women’s health and the factors shaping inequities in health and access to health care.  Reviewing the theoretical foundations of postcolonial-feminist theories and consider how these perspectives extend the boundaries of main stream feminist theorizing to inform critical analyses of women’s health.  Illustrate how postcolonial feminist perspectives can be used to analyse women’s health concerns using examples related to Canadian aboriginal women’s health as a case in point.  Emphasizing the importance engaging critically with postcolonial feminist theories as frameworks for social action aimed at mitigating inequities and promoting social justice in the area of women’s health.  Postcolonial theory can be defined as an interdisciplinary family of theories that share a common political and social concern about the legacy of colonialism, and how this continues to shape people's lives and life opportunities  Postcolonial theories converge on many key points: the need to examine the genesis of racialized, classed, and gendered inequities both past and present; the need for critical analyses of peoples' experiences of colonialism, and their continuing manifestations; the deliberate decentreing of dominant culture so that the perspectives of those who have been marginalized become starting points for knowledge development; and the need to expand our understanding of how conceptualizations of race, racialization, culture, and Others are constructed within particular historical and current neocolonial contexts  A relevant feature of postcolonial analysis in women's health is the foregrounding of colonizing and neocolonial practices which continue to construct race and culture as taken-for-granted categories to locate non-European women as the essentialized, often inferior, and subordinate Other.  Post in postcolonial does not imply that colonialism is finished business rather, that new evolving configurations of power relations are emerging.  A place of multiple identities, interconnected histories and shifting and diverse material conditions.  New racisms and oppressions are being formed.  A distinguishing feature of post colonial theory-is its focus on disrupting the enduring history of “race-thinking” and structural inequities that have been brought about by histories of colonization and ongoing neocolonial practices.  Postcolonial theories do not necessarily include a gendered analysis. Gender analytical dimension has been sorely lacking in some postcolonial scholarship.Some scholars postcolonial feminist framework that extends the analytical boundaries of both feminist an postcolonial theories. The aspects of feminist theory that are perhaps most relevant to postcolonial analyses relate to the notion of intersectionality. The deliberate decentring of dominant cultural perspectives so that the voices of those who have been marginalized become starting points for inquiry. And catalysts and key actors in activism an ssocial change. Intersectionalty refers to the ability of social phenomena such as race, class, and gender to mutually construct one another. As consequence women's experience differing constellations of inequities based on their social positioning within hierarchies of power relations. Gender interacts with other factors such as lower levels of education, racialization, or single parenthood , women end up at the bottom of most social economic gradients , and with aboriginal women representing one of the most disadvantaged groups in Canada. Postcolonial feminist perspective impact these historically and socially mediated conditions on women's health and human suffering. Postcolonial feminist theory also emphasizes the need for critical analyses that are inclusive multiple voices from diverse socio-historical locations. The assumption is that voices from the margins- those who have suffered the sentence of history produce insights that are intended to interrupt dominant discourses about race, class, gender relations and femenism. Perspectives have been largely excluded in health policy and reaserch. Reinterpreted or couched in terms of cultural differences, lifestyle practice, or behavioral choices. One of the critiques of some forms of feminist theory has been the tendency for a for analyses to privileges the gendered constrains of women's lives over issues such as racialization or class. Criticized for focusing on the problems of relatively privileged. Postcolonial femenist presprctives can be conceptualized as building on these critiques and extending the analytical breath of feminist theorizing by illuminating how racialized, classed, and gendered positioning, originating in the past and continuing in the present, intersects in different women's lives, opportunities, and choices.For (1993), the historical oppression levelled against Aborigional women is one of the most important points for feminists to grasp in order to appreciate how state-imposed gender discrimination uniquely affected first nation women. Some Aborigional women scholars have made efforts so contruct a gendered identity district from none Aborigional women and mainstream feminist movements. Racism and sexism found in the colonial process have serves to dramatically undermine the place and value of women in Aborigional cultures , living us venerable both within and outside of our communities. Encircling native peoples in ever tighter grips of landlessness and marginalization, hence, their victims to anger and violence. Postcolonial and feminist perspectives help is to understand complex factors like political disenfranchisement, racism, historical positioning and gender that shape the broad determinants of health. Postcolonial discourses can portray women to assume that all wine who belong to a particular ethnocultural group share the same experience of oppression. Overlook the diversity within groups. In Canada Aborigional culture in the Heath field is portrayed as the cultures of poverty, substance abuse, and dependency giving rise to judgments about Aborig
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