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Focusing Psychology on the Global Challenge: Achieving a Sustainable Future

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Toward a Socially Responsible Psychology for a Global Era

Part of the book series: International and Cultural Psychology ((ICUP))

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Abstract

To suggest that psychology needs to focus on our global challenge is in itself a paradox. Psychology as we have known it in the last 150 years of its development as a science has been focused primarily on the individual, particularly in Western contexts. Even as social psychology has expanded its interests to the study of the social units and determinants of behavior, the dynamic co-creating relationship between individual and broader socio-political and economic systems has remained mostly outside the scope of psychological study. This opening chapter explores the new zeitgeist as the context for the necessary emergence of socially responsible psychology via an analysis of the UDHR and the Earth Charter, which represent the broadest global consensus among the full diversity of human cultures, the scientific community, and world religious communities. We approach these documents as providing a comprehensive foundation from which to envision a concrete leadership role for psychology as a "major intellectual and moral force for advancing the human condition" (Pickren et al 2012, p.312).

The quintessential challenge of the global age… is to give rise to a complex and inseparable whole of unity and multiplicity… The problem… lies in the fact that thinking normatively of a whole of unity and differentiation, of global and local, requires a critical stance with respect to its existent configurations in order to reveal… its intrinsic pathologies.

Pulcini 2013, p. 2

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Correspondence to Elena Mustakova-Possardt .

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Mustakova-Possardt, E., Oxenberg, J. (2014). Focusing Psychology on the Global Challenge: Achieving a Sustainable Future. In: Mustakova-Possardt, E., Lyubansky, M., Basseches, M., Oxenberg, J. (eds) Toward a Socially Responsible Psychology for a Global Era. International and Cultural Psychology. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7391-6_1

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