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Critical Community Psychology

Critical Community Psychology

Carolyn Kagan, Mark Burton, Paul Duckett, Rebecca Lawthom, Asiya Siddiquee

ISBN: 978-1-405-18884-5

Apr 2011

396 pages

Select type: Paperback

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Interest in community psychology, and its potential has grown in parallel with changes in welfare and governmental priorities. Critical Community Psychology provides students of different community based professions, working in a range of applied settings, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, with a text which will underpin their community psychological work.

Key Features:

· Clear learning objectives and chapter contents outlined at the start of each chapter.

· Key terms highlighted with definitions, either as marginal notes or in chapter glossaries.

· Case examples of community psychology in action.

· Each chapter ends with a critical assessment section .

· Discussion points and ideas for exercises that can be undertaken by the reader, in order to extend critical understanding.

· Lists of further resources - e.g. reading, film, electronic.

· Authors are members of the largest community psychology departmental team in Europe.

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1 Introduction 1
Critical community psychology in Manchester 2
Why Manchester? 3
Learning through action and action through learning 5
Action learning 7
Action research 7
Language, discourse and representation 9
What do we mean by ‘critical'? 12
Orientation to the book 13


2 What is critical community psychology? 17
The nature and origins of community psychology 18
Definitions 21
The emergence of community psychology in different parts
of the world 24
Key themes in critical community psychology 28
From prevention to liberation 29
Global trends and critical community psychology 30
Think global, act local? 32
Localism as a philosophy 32
Sharing experiences, strategies and programmes 33
Being part of a wider movement 33
The role of social movements 34
Social justice and a just society 35
Core values underpinning a critical community
psychology 36
Social justice 37
Stewardship 38
Community 38
Conclusion 39

3 Core elements of a critical community psychology 41
Elements of critical community psychology 42
The ecological metaphor 42
Adaptation 44
Cycling of resources 44
Interdependence 44
Succession 44
Unintended consequences 45
Non-linearity 45
Fields and edges 46
Nesting 46
Ecological design 47
The systems perspective 47
Multiple levels of analysis 48
The person-in-context 49
An ontology of individual and society 50
The person-situation formula 50
Person-situation level elements of analysis 51
Role-rule contexts 51
Group dynamics 52
Leadership 53
Community-society level elements of analysis 54
Society and the individual 55
Facing the nature of oppression and liberation, immersion in the lived
experiences of people oppressed by the social system 56
A dialectical relationship between people and systems:
conscientisation 58
Working together 59
Interdisciplinarity 59
Agency, power and collective action 59
Participation 59
Prefigurative action 60
Core principles underlying a critical community psychology 62
Diversity 62
Innovation 62
Liberation 63
Commitment 63
Critical reflection 63
Humility 63
Conclusions 67

4 The contested nature of community 69
What is community? 71
Theory descriptions of community 73
Dimensions of community: Sentiment, social structure and space 74
Sentiment 74
Psychological sense of community 75
The cultural and symbolic sense of community 76
Space 79
Social structure 81
Multi-dimensional communities 83
Power and community 84
Social exclusion 85
Conclusions 87

5 Community as social ties 89
Social ties 90
Affection 91
Interdependence 91
Coercion 92
Theory prescriptions for community 93
Ties of affection and co-operation: Community as social capital 94
Ties of coercion: Community as ghetto 98
The ghetto walls 100
Social boundaries: benign or benevolent? 102
Community and social policy 103
Nature of participation 104
Conclusion 110

Critical disruption of Think! 111
Critically disrupting the challenge to individualism 111
Critically disrupting our history of community psychology 113

Resources for Part One 117


6 Problem definition 123
Social issues 125
Need 126
Positionality and problem definition 130
Whose need? 131
Getting to know the community 132
Community audit 132
Community profiling 133
Use of statistics 137
Observation 137
Community walks 138
Making contact and gaining entry in the community 139
Problem situations as human systems 141
Stakeholders and stakeholder analyses 151
Conclusion 153

7 Action planning 155
Decision making 156
Stakeholder analysis and action planning 160
Boundary critique: towards value-based decision making 161
Fourth generation evaluation 168
Participatory appraisal of needs and development of action 169
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats 170
Force fi eld analysis 171
Option appraisal 174
Compromise 175
Visioning 176
Mixing methods 178
Complex decision making: Polarity management 179

8 Action 1: furtherance of critical consciousness and creation
of new forms of social settings 183
Action for change 184
Strategies of critical community psychological action 186
Furtherance of critical consciousness (conscientisation) 186
Problematisation 188
Experiential learning 191
‘Capacitation' 195
Deideologisation 197
Creation of new forms of social relations and settings 198
Multi-dimensional nature of social situations 198
Behaviour settings 200
New or alternative social settings 202
The radical nature of alternative social settings 206

9 Action 2: Development of alliances, and accompaniment,
advocacy and analysis of policy 209

Making links, the development of alliances and counter systems 210
Processes of making links and working together 210
Communities of interest or communities of practice 213
Alliances and coalitions 213
Partnerships 216
Working at the ecological edge 217
Alliances, new social settings and connecting with social movements 222
Accompaniment, advocacy and analysis of policy 224
Accompaniment 224
Skills needed for accompaniment 227
Knowledge and accompaniment 228
Advocacy 228
Analysis of policy 234
Policy implementation 236
Policy analysis 237
Conclusions 240

Critical disruption of Act! 241
Chronic uncertainty 242
Work ethic 243

Resources for Part Two 245


10 Evaluation 251
Purpose of evaluation 252
Principles of evaluation 253
Evaluation frameworks 255
Politics of evaluation 256
What is to be evaluated? 261
‘Theory of change' perspectives on evaluation 262
Realistic or realist perspectives on evaluation 263
Capacity building for evaluation 268
Participation and evaluation 270
Participation and empowerment in evaluation 271
Resistance to involvement as a barrier to participation
in evaluation 274
Skills for evaluation 276
Conclusions 278

11 Change, influence and power 279
The nature of social change 280
Incremental or radical change 283
Linear and non-linear change 284
Stage approaches to change 285
Strategic change 286
Resistance to change 287
Action research as change 290
Social movements, power and ideology 291
Social influence 292
Social change tactics 294
Social power, powerlessness and empowerment 294
Taxonomy of power 295
The social structure of social power 298
Power analysis 300

12 Roles, skills and reflections on learning
for community psychologists 303
Roles for facilitating change 304
Facilitation roles 304
Educational roles 304
Representational roles 305
Technical roles 306
Skills for facilitating change 307
Interpersonal communication skills 308
Social problem solving skills 308
Organisation skills 309
Research skills 309
The context of community psychological action 310
Reflexivity as part of practice 314
Constraints on working as a community psychologist
and spaces for resistance 316
Ethical issues 319
Risk 320
Power (again) 322
Prefigurative learning 323
The case for and against community psychology 323
Community psychology as oppression or liberation 325
Conclusion 327

Critical disruption of Reflect! 329
Evaluation and the audit culture 329
Auditing skills 331
Critical disruption of critical reflection 333

Resources for Part Three 335

13 Critical disruption: Does critical community psychology
have an adequate praxis? 337

A new context: extreme and globalised oppression 340
Rethinking the amelioration-transformation distinction 341

References 343

Index 369

Clear learning objectives and chapter contents outlined at the start of each chapter

Key terms highlighted with definitions, either as marginal notes or in chapter glossaries

Case examples of community psychology in action

Each chapter ends with a critical assessment section

Discussion points and ideas for exercises that can be undertaken by the reader, in order to extend critical understanding

Lists of further resources – e.g. reading, film, electronic

Authors are members of the largest community psychology departmental team in  Europe