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(De)colonizing Culture in Community Psychology: Reflections from Critical Social Science

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

Abstract

Since its inception, community psychology has been interested in cultural matters relating to issues of diversity and marginalization. However, the field has tended to understand culture as a static social marker or as the background for understanding group differences. In this chapter, the authors contend that culture is inseparable from who we are and what we do as social beings. Moreover, culture is continually shaped by socio-historical and political processes intertwined within the globalized history of power. They propose a decolonizing standpoint grounded in critical social science to disrupt understandings of cultural matters that marginalize others. This standpoint would move the field toward deeper critical thinking, reflexivity, and emancipatory action. They conclude that community psychology must aim toward intercultural work, engaging its political nature from a place of ontological/epistemological/methodological parity. We present our work to illustrate how we integrate a decolonizing standpoint to community psychology research and teaching.

Keyword

This chapter was originally published in the American Journal of Community Psychology in 2011 (volume 47, numbers 1–2, pp. 203–214) and is reprinted here with minor revisions with permission from Springer Science + Business Media. The American Journal of Community Psychology is a Springer journal.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This particular form of Eurocentric power is intricately linked with the emergence of capitalism as the dominant economic and values system. Its establishment came about at the cost of vanquishing other ways of being and knowing that existed in what came to be known as Europe (see Lander 2005).

  2. 2.

    Autoethnography is “an autobiographical genre of writing that displays multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural” (Ellis and Bochner 2000, p. 739).

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Reyes Cruz, M., Sonn, C. (2015). (De)colonizing Culture in Community Psychology: Reflections from Critical Social Science. In: Goodman, R., Gorski, P. (eds) Decolonizing “Multicultural” Counseling through Social Justice. International and Cultural Psychology. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-1283-4_10

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