Epistemologies of the South and decolonization of health: for an ecology of care in collective health

João Arriscado Nunes Marília Louvison About the authors


This essay focuses on the importance of decolonizing health care, based on the theoretical framework of the epistemologies of the South proposed by Boaventura de Sousa Santos, and points to an ecology of care to be produced in the field of public healthcare, approaching health and illness, suffering and healing, disorder and care through struggles that emerge in facing capitalist, colonialist and patriarchal dynamics. The process of biomedicalization emerges within a monoculture of dominant conceptions of biomedical knowledge that define the terms of validity of knowledge and interventions on health, illness, care and healing. This analysis points to the importance of collaborative and non-extractivist research projects based on the recognition of the diversity of knowledges, practices and experiences, of their copresence and their encounters, of the struggles for social and cognitive justice and of the multiple and diverse struggles for health and access to medical care. The relations between collective health and the knowledge, care, and healing practices that are part of the experience and of the world of the indigenous peoples emerge as an important example of how to learn to think and act ecologically in the field of health.

Collective Health; Health Decolonization; Biomedicalization; Epistemologies of the South

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