This glossary consists of brief, general definitions of key concepts as they are understood in decolonial thought. It is not meant to be exhaustive or in-depth.


“The ideology and practice of maximizing profits and wealth for the benefit of a handful of people at the top of a racial hierarchy, by extracting this wealth ”from nature (including the land, resources and people). Racialized people are forced to assimilate or are excluded from the accumulated wealth and services. The term (neo) (colonial) shows that global colonial dynamics persist after colonization through the military-industrial complex, Euro-American foreign policy, and capitalism as an economic, socio-cultural and political system. (European Network Against Racism (ENAR), 2021)

political and economic power and control of a nation over other nations which are referred to as the “remote colonies” by the European empires and colonies from the late 15th century to the second half of the 20th century. It involves the subjugation of one people by another.

“the long-standing patterns of power that emerged as a result of colonialism, but that define culture, labour, intersubjectivity relations, and knowledge production well beyond the strict limits of colonial administrations. Coloniality survives colonialism.” (Nelson Maldonado- Torres 2007: 243)

The “hidden” darker side of Western modernity, as its integrated logic “enforces control, domination, and exploitation disguised in the language of salvation, progress, modernization, and being good for everyone.” (Walter Mignolo 1995: 6)

names a cocktail of insurrectionist-liberatory projects and critical thoughts emerging from the ex-colonized regions such as Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. (Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, 2021)

refers to how identities (gender, class, race, sexuality, disability, religion, etc.) combine to mutually reinforce discrimination that leads to systemic injustice and social inequality. For example, black and brown indigenous women face the intersectional forms of discrimination of racism and patriarchy.


discrimination, disadvantages and unfair treatment (oppression) of certain groups of people, supported and enforced by society and its institutions (systemic) based on their belonging to certain groups normally defined by gender, race and class.

presupposing the superiority and importance of the knowledge, things and people of European countries like Great Britain, France, Germany, etc.

phenomenon and mechanism of extracting large amounts of natural resources from a particular area, often for export and profit. (Alberto Acosta, 2013)

selective telling and partially remembering history that suppress stories of wrongdoing, oppression and violence against other people.


“Indigenous peoples are the Other of Western discourse: they are opposed to the interests, ways of thinking and living of the West” (Linda Tuhiwai Smith)

“The term has enabled the collective voices of colonized people to be expressed strategically in the international arena. It has also been an umbrella enabling communities and peoples to come together, transcending their own colonized contexts and experiences, in order to learn, share, plan, organize and struggle collectively for self-determination on the global and local stages.” (Linda Tuhiwai Smith, p.2)

refers to communities of people who are subject to racism by attributing to them sets of characteristics considered inherent to members of the group because of physical or cultural traits (this includes, but is not limited to, skin color or pigmentation,, also religious practices, language and clothing). Racialized communities include communities of color and Blacks, Indigenous peoples, but also other communities such as Roma and Irish travelers. (European Network Against Racism (ENAR), 2021)

concept traditionally used within government and development organizations (such as the United Nations) that refers to economically disadvantaged nations such as former colonized nations of Latin America and Africa, but also the Middle East, Brazil, parts of Asia and India. Many of these nations are former or current colonies.

For the purpose of this special edition , we refer to the geographically fluid definition used by academics and activists. The global South refers to peoples and spaces around the world that are negatively affected by globalized (neo) colonial capitalism. This includes the creation of the global South (people) in the geographical global North, and the development of the global North (people) in the geographical global South. This notion captures a “deterritorialized geography of capitalism’s externalities and the means of accounting for subjugated peoples within the borders of wealthier countries”.

As the global Souths recognize each other and consider their shared conditions, the global South acquires a third meaning, that of a global political community. (Anne Garland Mahler, 2017)

It is important to note that despite the notion of geographic fluidity, the global Souths (peoples) are largely concentrated in the global South (geography).

traditionally, this refers to wealthy and powerful nations in Western Europe, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, but it also includes Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

For the purposes of the Brennpunkt, we refer to a more geographically fluid notion : the people (behind nations, corporations and institutions) who own and control resources, wealth, funding, networks and/or decision-making. It is important to acknowledge that the global North (people) are concentrated in the global North (geography).