issue 2 08 - APS Member Groups - Australian Psychological Society

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issue 2 08 - APS Member Groups - Australian Psychological Society

Book review98reacting to a legacy of colonialism and/orindigenous power inequalities. CP has becomea convenient label that allows conversationbetween different researchers and professionalsacross the world. This conversation has at leasttwo important functions. One is to empowerresearchers and practitioners through acollective identity. The second is that culturaland historical differences allow the disciplineopportunities to reflect and thus continue todevelop theory through critical thought.Montero and Díaz discuss social-CP inLatin America and point out that it much of thedevelopment started in the 1970s. Theyacknowledge the importance of Marxism.Although only briefly acknowledged, is theimpact of Vatican II and liberation theology.Kurt Lewin's influence is also significant.Montero and Diaz put together a veryimportant summary of the developments of CPidentifying such antecedents such as the socialsciences approach to communities and themilitant and engaged critical research insociology and adult education in the period1995 to 1974. Following that were thecreation of participatory methods and in 1977the term participatory action research wascoined to denote a participatory style ofresearch that had been undertaken since the1950s. In the early 1980s liberation theologyinformed most of Latin American CP. Then inthe mid-80s there was discussion on thepractice of community strengthening andempowerment. In the late 80s through to themid-90s there was a deconstruction andanalysis of the notions of power. This led to agreater emphasis on understanding theepistemological and ontological bases of CPand critical theory in general. Also importantin the 90s was the emergence of considerationof emotion. The authors of this chapter makethe important point that the emergent CPsreflect local history, thinking and issues (and ageneral philosophy that is a mixture of localindigenous understandings, European culture,and a radicalised and socialist Catholicreligion, Smart, 1999). Montero and Díaz gofurther to suggest that the differencesbetween CPs across the globe offeropportunities for insights based on thecontrasts of social and historical contexts andthe nature of the development of thediscipline.The chapter on CP in New Zealand byRobertson and Masters-Awatere is significantgiven the close ties between New Zealandand Australian CP. The differences in originsand practices are important for CPs both sidesof the ‘ditch’. CP in New Zealand had itsorigins at least 15 years before Swampscott.The importance of the treatment of Maoricannot be under emphasised. Thedevelopment of CP has been informed by thesocial movements of Maori from the Treatyof Waitangi through to the re-emergence ofMaori culture. The authors acknowledge thatwhile the term CP was imported directly fromthe United States, the theoretical roots of thefield are its own and were more related tosocial conditions in New Zealand.This book represents a rich source ofinformation about CP as practised across theworld. While the editors point out thatfundamental notions such as community donot necessarily exist in all cultures, what isloosely described as CP in various places hassignificantly communality to make acollection like this useful. In trying tosummarise the similarities and differencesacross the world they had knowledge that it isa difficult process but they do quote theBritish authors (Burton, Boyle, Harris &Kagan) who see CP as "a framework forworking with those marginalised by socialsystems that leads to self-aware change withan emphasis on value-based, participatorywork and forging alliances." They reflectDalton, Elias and Wandersman's (2001)comments that CP "concerns the relationshipsof individual to communities and societies.Through collaborative research and action,community psychologists seek to understandand enhance the quality of life forindividuals, community, and society". WhatThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008

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