Self, Community & Psychology - a summary of some chaptersPYC2604 - Community PsychologyChapter Two: Critical reflections on community and psychology in SAWhat is community? Community refers to a sense of coherence that enables people to make sense of their social actions, interaction and thought processes.-Shared experiences among community members contribute to a common character-Ubuntu is key to community life-A group of people who live / work in a common geographical place. Diverse group of people, constantly debating and negotiating ways of living and working together in varying degrees of harmony and conflict.-Community of interest = Christian / community of place = residents of Lonehill.Problematizing CommunitiesConnotations of community – in SA – this automatically refers to economically disadvantaged groups (Black SA)Community has come to operate as a code word for race / racial difference.Term “communities” playing a role in a greater discourse of avoidance of issue of race and privilege.“White communities” not heard of which indicates a history of structural privilege.Challenges to community Psychologists. Rhoads challenges practitioners to:1.Situate practice within communities they serve & Rethink their relationship with these communities2.Focus on social transformation – initiative aimed at helping reorganize human relationships through challenging oppressive structures and relationships and changing systems that represent injustice.3.Community psychology relatively new concept to SA – however this must not undermine African’s communallifestyle, values and traditions4.Academics criticized for knowledge-production that is self-serving, with little regard and exclusion of, marginalized groups.5.Psychologies are cultural derivatives of western values system6.Psychologists are challenged with accurately documenting African practices and rituals found in African communities.7.Local knowledge, stories, folklore and rituals. Indabas – traditional court and cleansing ceremony. By fostering community narratives that represent such practices, community psychologists safeguard historic traditions.Philosophical assumptionsIntervention strategies of community psychologists are influenced by their value systems, beliefs – which have implications for their relationship with the community.Academic psychological knowledge must recognize the importance of learning about local cultures and understanding them from within their own frame of reference. i.e. circumcision considered dangerous but there is an important underlying value – social and cultural significance that cannot be dismissed.Collectivism – Social interaction that fosters social harmony and continuity – extended families share problems.
Feedback on Assignment 1
Assignment 01 was relatively easy and provided an opportunity for you to familiarise yourself with this
module. Below is a brief summary of the relevant texts in the Study Guide and the textbook (where
appropriate). The correct answer is stated at the end of each discussion.
In the Study Guide (Section 1.1: Introduction) we stated that: You may have been a little surprised when
you saw the name of this module – re-imagining community (rather than, say, discovering or analysing
community). We decided on ‘Re-imagining Community’ to emphasise that community is not a fixed thing
that is waiting to be discovered and analysed, but an unfolding series of possibilities – a combination of
what really is ‘out there’ and our ability to imagine it otherwise. This study guide will take you step by step
through discovering and imagining community across different themes that are often encountered in
We are concerned that as academics we sometimes ‘teach’ facts and theories that are divorced from
people's lived experiences. There are convincing arguments to be made against what Paulo Freire (1970)
called a ‘banking model of education’ whereby students are seen as empty minded shells that need to be
filled with facts by lecturers so that they can become knowledgeable ‘experts’. Unfortunately the banking
model implies that students are voiceless and that the only voice they should have is to reproduce the facts
and theories in a parrot-like manner. It results in students that are voiceless, uncritical and disempowered.
Leo Buscaglia (1982) calls this ‘learning from the neck up’, without heart! (See Study Guide, Section 1.4:
The power of stories.)
Therefore, in the module ‘Re-imagining Community’, it is false to say that community is a fixed thing that is
waiting to be discovered and analysed.
In the Study Guide (Section 1.1: Introduction) we stated that: In this reader we have brought together...