Decolonizing the term ‘Third World’: Breaking away from colonial narratives

  •  June 1, 2023
     9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Have you ever used the term ‘Third World’ before? So have I. This, however, is a colonial concept we need to break away from. This session will draw attention to a link between the negative discourse surrounding ‘Third World’ today and a colonial attitude that continues to exist today. While it is just a term, the derogatory narrative associated with it stands for so much more. The continued image of the ‘Third World’ as the ‘Other’ has resulted in a status quo world hierarchy, where the ‘Third World’ is constantly compared to the ‘First World’ in an inferior manner, one that associates the ‘Third World’ Status with poverty and underdevelopment. This has manifested in the continuous neglect of the ‘Third World’ voice which has in turn allowed the ‘First World’ to dictate the image of the ‘Third World’ – what it is and what it is not. Even categorisation terms such as ‘Global South and Global North’ are subject to a colonial definition of development. This session will recognize the role a colonial attitude plays towards the formation and perpetuated use of these categorisations in a derogatory manner, and addresses the need to question the dominant narrative surrounding it. Let us be the change we want to see by changing the way we use the term ‘Third World’ and explore more truthful narratives.


Tanya Keswani

Tanya Keswani holds a BA in Politics and International Relations and an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from SOAS University of London, she has conducted cutting-edge research analysing the presence of a colonial attitude in modern day cinema and modern political systems, providing recommendations for creating a postcolonial narrative for Global South countries. Her research papers have been published in the German National Library and are available on Amazon. Her policy abstract on addressing the colonial legacy in debt distress was selected to be presented at the G20 Summit in India, later this year. Along with being a published author, she is an entrepreneur and illustrator who believes in the power of communicating social impact through art.





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