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"An exchange of ideas, information and resources for community practicioners." Learn more here...

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"The Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice is devoted to providing high quality and practical information on community practice." Learn more here...

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Featured Articles from Around the Globe

Special Issue on Community Psychology and Social Policy Special Issue on Community Psychology and Social Policy

Kenneth I. Maton
Guest Editor

The policy arena is a critical one for our work, locally, nationally, and internationally.  Yet, we have focused little as a field on the key challenges faced in social policy-related work, the factors that appear critical to our success, and the similarities and differences in influencing social policy formulation vs. influencing local practice.  Finally, from an international perspective, there has been little discussion of the distinctive aspects of governmental policymaking in various national contexts, and the resulting implications for our attempts to influence social policy.

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Community Psychology and social policies: Actors and institutions Community Psychology and social policies: Actors and institutions

Jaime Alfaro
Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile

Peer Reviewed

This article seeks to analyze the relationship between community psychology and social policy, given the growth in interest in their interaction, both in in terms of the issues covered (from mental health to social problems) and the regions concerned (North America, Europe, and Latin America).

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Causal layered analysis as a policy methodology Causal layered analysis as a policy methodology

Brian J. Bishop, Peta L. Dzidic and Lauren J. Breen
Curtin University

Peer Reviewed

In this paper, we argue that psychology’s failure to adopt a multiplicity of epistemologies, in particular a contextualist epistemology, has meant that psychology, and particularly, community psychology has had limited impact. Further, we argue the need to consider community worldviews and culture, in general, if we are to engage more fully in policy development and implementation. Contending with the social issues relevant to policy settings requires an articulation of the worldview and cultural context.

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The geometrical headache of French policies: Can vertical cultures be tilted horizontally? The geometrical headache of French policies: Can vertical cultures be tilted horizontally?

Thomas Saïas and Cécile Delawarde
Paris, France

Peer Reviewed

This paper is based on our work as a community psychologist, working in a French governmental agency, and as a sociologist of mental health studying the processes of political decision-making in regard to preventive public health policies. The objective is first to reflect on the distinctive aspects of governmental policymaking in our country, and second, to underline the obstacles to and facilitators of success in our social policy-related work.

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A Community Psychologist’s involvement in policy change at the community level: Three stories from a practitioner A Community Psychologist’s involvement in policy change at the community level: Three stories from a practitioner

Tom Wolff, PhD
Amherst MA, USA.

Peer Reviewed

As a community psychology practitioner who works with local communities policy change has always been an integral part of my work. This paper will illustrate that influencing social policy for community psychologists working in communities is a natural part of their everyday activities. Every dilemma faced by communities not only has programmatic solutions but also root structural causes that require policy changes. Often our task is to build the capacity of the community to become effectively involved with local office holders on issues of policy change.

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In and against social policy In and against social policy

Mark Burton
Manchester Metropolitan University

Peer Reviewed

In this paper, I will explore some opportunities and traps of the social policy process through the experience of leading a demonstration project that piloted changes in disability policy in the UK, and as an activist trying to influence city policies on climate change mitigation.  The relative autonomy of system levels will be explored in relation to the scope for and limits to change.  Some practical tools for maintaining an ethical clarity will be identified.

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La co-gestión de Políticas Públicas Sociales entre Estado y sociedad civil: El aporte de la Psicología Social Comunitaria a la construcción del diálogo entre actores diversos La co-gestión de Políticas Públicas Sociales entre Estado y sociedad civil: El aporte de la Psicología Social Comunitaria a la construcción del diálogo entre actores diversos

Alicia Rodríguez
Universidad de la República, Uruguay

Peer Reviewed

This paper presents the contribution of Social Community Psychology (SCP) to the development of understanding and participation in the context of  social public policies (SPP) that are co-managed between the State and civil society. We provide an analysis of the complexity of the socio-political setting, and the importance of considering psychosocial and subjective processes when aiming to strengthen the participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) and the population targeted by the policy.

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Commentary

Social policy: The tightwire we walk (A commentary)

By Irma Serrano-García

The author comments on the issues that community psychologists encounter when faced with the need to intervene at the policy level as well as develop community psychology as a discipline. She focuses on issues related to subjectivity, context, research and the relationship with the State. She urges community psychologists to consider the limitations and successes available to those that intervene at the policy level.

La autora comenta sobre los asuntos que los psicólogos y psicólogas comunitarios enfrentan cuando necesitan intervenir en políticas sociales y a su vez interesan desarrollar el aspecto disciplinario de la psicología comunitaria. Enfoca los temas de subjetividad, contexto, investigación y la relación con el Estado. Urge a los psicólogos y psicólogas comunitarios a estar conscientes de las limitaciones y los potenciales logros disponibles a aquellas personas que deciden intervenir a nivel de la política social.

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featured book review

Community Psychology and Social Policies (English translation)

by Jaime Alfaro, Alipio Sanchez and Alba Zambrano

Reviewed by Loreto Leiva

This book confronts one of the challenges for those who work from a community approach: establishing a new dialogue between institutions, people and community (Martinez, 2006).

Those who labor in the field of community psychology know that the aim of this discipline is to promote the active participation of community members. Consequently, we want an active community and not just a group of spectators receiving the benefits of community without working for them. We expect the community to be an active agent with voice, vote and veto (Montero, 2004), allowing the development of strengths and capabilities rather than a focus on weaknesses and deficiencies.

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tools of the trade

Social Consortium: A Partnership of Community Agents

By Maritza Montero

This paper proposes Social Consortium as a strategy to address the relationships developed between external agents (community outsiders) who carry out social policies or non-governmental projects, and internal agents, community stakeholders and leaders who work within the community from their own perspectives, according to their needs. The ways in which the two types of agents participate in policies and projects, as well as their levels of involvement and commitment, are delineated.  The causes of misunderstanding and the strategic errors that lead to difficult and problematic situations, unsuccessful efforts, and the useless investment of time and work are analyzed.

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featured book review

Principles of Social Change

by Leonard Jason

Reviewed by Tom Wolff

Successful change agents must have knowledge, a sense of intuition and urgency to solve complex problems. This is the theme of Len Jason’s new book, Principles of Social Change. It is a wonderful and refreshing addition to the community psychology literature, and indeed to the broader social change literature. His social change model involves both the presentation of scientific/research information on the issue, partnered with vigorous advocacy. He demonstrates the critical role of both science and intuition to the change process. What a refreshing acknowledgement of the role of these powerful forces.

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