American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 31, Issue 1–2, pp 185–194 | Cite as

Sociopolitical Development

  • Roderick J. WattsEmail author
  • Nat Chioke Williams
  • Robert J. Jagers


This paper examines theories and concepts relevant to sociopolitical development (SPD). As an emerging theory, SPD expands on empowerment and similar ideas related to social change and activism in community psychology—oppression, liberation, critical consciousness, and culture among them. SPD is the process by which individuals acquire the knowledge, analytical skills, emotional faculties, and the capacity for action in political and social systems necessary to interpret and resist oppression. Equally as important is a vision of liberation that is an alternative to oppressive conditions. All of these concepts have been underemphasized in the social change literature of U.S. community psychology. In our view, sociopolitical development is vital to human development and the creation of a just society. As part of identifying and illustrating concepts and processes relevant to SPD theory, we will draw from the words of young African American activists who were interviewed as part of a research study.

activism sociopolitical development empowerment African Americans social change oppression liberation 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roderick J. Watts
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nat Chioke Williams
    • 2
  • Robert J. Jagers
    • 3
  1. 1.Georgia State UniversityAtlanta
  2. 2.The Edward W. Hazen FoundationUSA
  3. 3.Howard University Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at RiskUSA

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