Bringing Society To Psychology
Sally Zlotowitz and I wrote an article for Psy-PAG Quarterly last year on using a community psychology approach in research and I'd be very interested to hear your views on what we put forward in that article. I've noticed that quite a few people have read a copy of the article when I posted on my academia.edu web page (up to 888 readers!), but I haven't the foggiest as to whether the article has inspired the readers or has put them off community psychology research altogether...
Researchers - has it been a help for your own research to try to understand which paradigm that you're using and to envisage what kind of community psychology research that you could be doing (with our use of case examples)? Would other case examples be better, in your view?
Educators - Has it been useful for stimulating discussion among your students? What kinds of things do you think we could have covered in more depth?
Please feel free to give feedback. I'd be grateful for your thoughts on the article; whether you think it's good, bad or ugly, it'll just be helpful to get some dialogue going...
A copy of the article can be seen via:
Scroll down to page 21 for the start of the article...
Thank you for those of you who take the time to read it and who also are able to provide some comments.
HI, I really enjoyed reading that article thank you very much for posting it and the link.
An interesting question would be if a community psychologist should be the person to / or can be the person to "address inequalities in well-being by using ameliorative methodologies to reduce pain or discomfort caused by social ill."
Marcia Roux argues that ameliorative methodologies although rooted in the functional approach hold the presumption that the deficit stems from an individual condition. The outcome of 'treatment' therefore becomes to enable an individual to live as independently as possible within the social and economic environments as they are currently structured. This approach would take the form of 'doing therapy' which Nimisha Patel in her 2003 article describes as an elitist activity that only serves those whose norms and values are represented within psychology. Nimisha highlights that the domination of the profession by white middle class people leads to the perpetuation of patriarchal eurocentric values and an individualised focus. She goes on to say that by focusing on the individual as the location of the distress and therefore the target of the change it would mean that psychologists are neglecting the wider social context. Therefore it might be argued to 'ameliorate' does not sit comfortably within the ethos of community psychology as a whole. If as community psychologists recognition of the misuse of power to oppress is core then it should follow that the core should be (contained in the following bullet point on page 23) the "focus on prevention and target root causes". Furthermore, Nimisha argues that it is the role of the psychologist to challenge the social and political order and question the policies that perpetuate oppression by offering the theoretical and practical alternatives.
In which case it might be argued that the common aim would be to move as far away as possible from the ameliorative approachs rooted in individual pathology and move to addressing the social pathology. Marcia Roux would then suggest best outcomes could be achieved through an environmental approach of eliminating the systemic barriers or through a human rights approach and provide 'treatment' through the reformulation of economic, social and political policy to provide social and political entitlements.Which fits more nicely with the rest of your article and the multi-layered focus.