Community psychology and social policies: background, limits and possibilities.
The literature reports three distinctive characteristics of the relationship between community psychology and social policies. First, it shows an increase of psychologist’s implication in implementing government social programs with a community orientation, and this have an effect on the development on university training both pre and post grade.
Second, it reports significant tensions with the practices implemented in the field derived from: (1) the clash of hierarchical top-down models (working “in the community”) versus egalitarian ones (working “with the community’) that should promote people’s capacities and autonomy; (2) the opposing views of interventions focused on individual vulnerability, versus contextual multilevel, interventions, focused on sociocultural amplification; and (3) the presence of compensatory approaches that depoliticizes community action.
Third, the literature shows increasing debate on topics such as: processes, standards and notions where potential contribution of the community psychology field seems bigger; the factors that promote versus hinder opportunities for participatory processes and for activating process of negotiation and to form coalitions of community workers, social and political policymakers at different stages of the social policy cycle; the community psychology potentiality to bring into focus the deconstruction of political and social problems that takes into account the rationality, values, meanings and interests underlying it together with the associated process of deliberation.
On the whole, all this calls for this symposium aimed to discuss at a forum to review progress in the analysis of this process, particularly in aspects such as: barriers, limits and possibilities facing community psychology to join the process of social policies formulation and implementation; the definition of the main conditioning factors to promote the channels dialogue and communication between community psychology and social policies.
Issues / Questions to discuss:
- What are the barriers, limits and possibilities of this process?
- What are the main determining factors?
- What are the main ways of developing a process of dialogue and mutual contribution between community psychology and social policies?