Mignolo’s Decolonial Thinking

Published on 27 September 2023 at 11:46

Walter Mignolo, a prominent scholar in the field of decolonial studies, defines “decolonial thinking” as a form of epistemic resistance and critique against the underlying assumptions and logics of coloniality, which continue to pervade various aspects of global societies even after the formal end of colonialism.

Mignolo’s decolonial thinking is characterized by the following:

1. De-linking from Western Centric Thought: Mignolo argues that we should “de-link” from Western-centric modes of knowledge production and embrace diverse, non-Western epistemologies. This means critically questioning and moving beyond Eurocentric narratives, frameworks, and concepts.
2. Coloniality of Power and Knowledge: Mignolo distinguishes between “colonialism” (historical events) and “coloniality” (ongoing patterns and structures). He emphasizes that while colonialism as a direct political and administrative control might have ended, coloniality persists in power relations, knowledge systems, and cultural formations.
3. Border Thinking: Mignolo introduces the concept of “border thinking,” which means thinking from the margins, or from the “borderlines” of the global system. It’s an epistemological approach that challenges mainstream, center-based knowledge systems by valuing the perspectives of those historically silenced or marginalized.
4. Critique of Modernity: Mignolo sees modernity and coloniality as two sides of the same coin. While modernity claims progress, reason, and universality, it often hides its darker underside, which is coloniality. Decolonial thinking, therefore, critiques the myths and narratives of modernity.
5. Affirmation of Pluriversality: Instead of a universal model of knowledge or development, Mignolo promotes “pluriversality,” which is a world in which many worlds fit. It’s a commitment to valuing multiple ways of knowing, being, and doing.

In essence, decolonial thinking as defined by Mignolo is an effort to understand and challenge the deep-seated legacies of colonialism in our present world, particularly in areas of knowledge, culture, and power. It is about creating spaces for diverse voices, perspectives, and epistemologies.


Do you understand the difference between Colonialism and Colonialality as Mignolo defines it? 

What is one aspect coloniality that you would like to seperate from? 

Add comment


There are no comments yet.