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Liberation social psychology: learning from Latin America

Burton, Mark and Kagan, Carolyn (2005) Liberation social psychology: learning from Latin America. Journal of community & applied social psychology, 15 (1). pp. 63-78. ISSN 1052-9284

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Abstract

Liberation Social Psychology (la psicología social de la liberación, LSP) has developed amongst a body of psychologists in Latin America over the last decade. There has been no survey of the field in English, although some of the ideas are of relevance for those working with oppressed groups elsewhere in the world. This article explores the context in which LSP grew from the work of Ignacio Martín-Baró and was developed by Maritza Montero, amongst others. Within LSP, key concepts emerge, including conscientization, realismo-crítico, de-ideologization, a social orientation, the preferential option for the oppressed majorities and methodological eclecticism. The application of LSP is explored with reference to three domains. First, it is suggested that community social psychology as practised in some parts of Latin America reflects LSP in its emphasis on social transformation and participatory methods. Second, psycho-social work with victims of state oppression, which adopts a highly social and societal orientation embodies LSP. Third, social analyses which explicitly adopt socio-psychological-political analyses of the social realities confronting countries in Latin America embrace, in different ways, principles and concepts of LSP. Some of the challenges facing LSP are discussed and open dialogue is encouraged between LSP and critical, community and applied social psychologists. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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