Community Psychology, Critical Theory and Community Development in Indigenous Empowerment

  • Christopher Sonn
  • Amy Quayle
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


In this chapter, we argue that community, liberation and peace psychology and the psychology of oppression share a common concern with issues of social exclusion, social inequality and peacebuilding. This shared concern is reflected in a commitment to developing theories and modes of practice that can address problems of structural violence and that can contribute to the creation of living conditions within which individuals and communities can realise their potential. We focus on an area of work within community psychology that is concerned with understanding and disrupting racialised oppression within the context of Indigenous and non-Indigenous partnerships for change through community cultural development. We discuss the broader theoretical framework for understanding structural violence and oppression, informed by community, liberation and peace psychology and highlight the importance of ethical engagement from a relational epistemology, as well as critical engagement with ontological matters, in seeking to advance liberation and decolonisation. We point to deconstruction as a tool for revealing dominance as well as devalued subject positions. We also highlight the role of counter narratives in change processes.


Indigenous People Aboriginal People Community Psychology Torres Strait Islander Subject Position 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank Maritza Montero, Dianne Bretherton, Nikola Balvin and two anonymous reviewers for their feedback on an earlier draft of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Sciences and PsychologyVictoria UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Human and Community DevelopmentUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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