chapter  2
Contesting the Notion of Culture
ByLucy Mkandawire-Valhmu
Pages 10

This chapter analyzes how cultural safety compares to other theoretical frameworks and models that attempt to enhance our understanding of how to care for populations that are outside of the mainstream. These models and theories include Campinha Bacote’s model of cultural competence and Leininger’s transcultural theory. This chapter also explores the history of “culture” as a concept, particularly in the nursing literature, but also in the anthropological literature, from which it originated. It engages in a contestation of the notion of culture as it is currently understood in the healthcare literature. This current understanding of culture is problematic as it views culture as static and thus hinders critical thinking among healthcare professionals in effectively addressing healthcare needs. In applying the concept of cultural safety to our perspective of different people groups, we shift from this sort of emphasis on culture to rather gaining a recognition and in-depth understanding of the reality of health inequities. As culturally safe healthcare providers, our ultimate responsibility is in taking action to eliminate these inequities through the implementation of workable interventions.