The postcolonial school of thought is based on the understanding that the colonialism did not end with Europe’s decolonization in 1700s-1900s. The effects of the colonialism keep influencing how the world and unequal power relations are constructed today. The questions asked by postcolonial theory are which role the colonial past plays in today’s world and how it is recreated both locally and globally in contemporary societies.
The notions of a modern, civilised and rational ‘West’ are closely interlinked with the construction of an irrational, pre-modern and mystical ‘East’. This view legitimises super- and subordination, where the Western culture and model of society are placed at the very front of the colonial hierarchical development model. The notion of the global North and South relates to this East/West distinction, where the North is portrayed as modern, rich, civilised and developed compared with the undeveloped, outdated and uncivilised South. Sweden participated not only in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonisation, since the colonisation of Lapland, home to the Sami, follows the same pattern.
In the latter case, it is the Swedish state that is portrayed as civilised and modern while the Sami people are conveyed as the opposite. This colonisation can be understood as continuing today, and postcolonial theories can offer an understanding of how and why this is possible. Feminist theories and postcolonial theory have influenced each other in many ways. Although feminist theory and postcolonial theory are two different fields, they join forces in what can be described as a search for alternative knowledge where critical perspectives on knowledge production, universalism, power and dominant worldviews meet. A postcolonial feminism has emerged, describing how sexism, racism and homophobia can be connected to a questioning of global forms of domination, where the colonial past plays a central role.