Seymour Sarason Remembered: “Plus ça change…”, “Psychology Misdirected”, and “Community Psychology and the Anarchist Insight”
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- Trickett, E.J. Am J Community Psychol (2015) 56: 197. doi:10.1007/s10464-015-9744-9
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The intellectual legacy of Seymour Sarason continues to serve as a critical resource for the field of community psychology. The present paper draws on one of Sarason’s favorite aphorisms and two of his seminal writings to suggest the relevance of ideas articulated 35–40 years ago for the current time. Each in their own way highlights the importance of unearthing and interrogating core assumptions underlying our research and our efforts to make a positive difference. The aphorism reminds us that the rhetoric of change is far easier to articulate than to enact and all too often ignores or disguises issues of power among actors. The “misdirection” of Psychology reflected his assertion that the asocial, acultural, and ahistorical nature of American Psychology reflected American culture more generally and ill prepared it to understand and engage in social change, particularly with respect to educational reform. The “anarchist insight” articulated his belief in interrogating the implications of the increasingly interdependent relationship of science and the state for the autonomy of scientists and scientific inquiry. The evidence-based practice movement is offered as an example of the current day relevance of the aphorism and core insights of these two papers. The paper concludes with a plea to rekindle the discussion and continued examination of Sarason’s paradigmatic insights for the intellectual and social development of the field.