Time-Space Distanciation as a Decolonizing Framework for Psychology

Harrison J. Schmitt, Isaac F. Young, Lucas A. Keefer, Roman Palitsky, Sheridan A. Stewart, Alexis N. Goad, Daniel Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Coloniality describes the way in which racialized conceptions of being, personhood, and morality inherent in colonial regimes are maintained long after the formal end of colonial enterprises. Central to coloniality has been the material and psychological colonization of space and time, largely by Western and industrialized nations. We propose the importance of understanding the coloniality of time and space through a historically grounded framework called time-space distanciation (TSD). This framework posits that via the global spread of capitalism through colonization, psychological understandings of time and space have been separated from one another, such that they are now normatively treated as distinct entities, each with their own abstract and quantifiable value. We discuss the construct and its centrality to coloniality, as well as the ways in which contemporary psychology has been complicit in proliferating the coloniality of psychologies of time and space. Finally, we discuss ways to employ the decolonial strategies of denaturalization, indigenization, and accompaniment in the context of future research on the psychology of time and space. TSD contributes to decolonial efforts by combatting the reification of hegemonic psychological constructs, showing how these constructs arise as a function of historical changes in understanding, experience, and use of time and space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-421
Number of pages17
JournalReview of General Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • coloniality
  • decolonization
  • psychology of time
  • space
  • time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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