Settler Colonial Socialization in Public Sector Work: Moving from Privilege to Complicity

Nisha Nath, Willow Samara Allen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    In this piece, we ask, what are the risks of a pedagogy and politics that -begins and ends with privilege? What does it mean to declare privilege when -embedded in institutions of the settler colonial state? These questions are raised -through an ongoing project where we interview provincial public sector workers on-Treaty 6, 7 and 8 (Alberta, Canada) and Coast Salish Territories (British Columbia, -Canada) about their implications in settler colonialism through public sector work. In -the project, we articulate the interdisciplinary framework of settler colonial -socialization to consider the space between individuals and structures – the mesospace where settlers are made by learning how to take up the work of settler -colonialism. For these reasons, in our research we ask, “what do the pedagogical -processes of settler colonial socialization tell us about how systemic colonial violence -is sustained, and how it might be disrupted or refused in public sector work?” In this -paper, we narrow our focus to the declarations of privilege that many of our interview -participants are making. We reflect on these declarations and consider whether -focusing on settler complicity and Indigenous refusals can better support a decolonial -politics for settlers working in the public sector.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)200-226
    Number of pages27
    JournalStudies in Social Justice
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


    • Antiracism
    • Complicity
    • Deep colonizing
    • Privilege
    • Public sector workers
    • Reconciliation
    • Settler colonial socialization
    • Settler colonialism


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