Community Psychology

In Pursuit of Liberation and Well-Being

by Geoffrey Nelson and Isaac Prilleltensky

Chapter 2: The Project of Community Psychology: Issues, Values, and Tools for Liberation and Well-Being

Box 2.a

Dominant Groups in a Society Are Accountable for the Oppression of

Disadvantaged Groups and Must Speak Out and Resist Oppression

Angelina Grimké (1838) exposed the oppression of supposedly "free" black women in the north as well as the enslavement of black women in the south and exhorted white women in the north to stand in solidarity with black women for their emancipation.
Much may be done, too, by sympathizing with our oppressed colored sisters, who are suffering in our very midst. . . Multitudes of instances will continually occur in which you will have the opportunity of identifying yourselves with this injured class of our fellow beings; embrace these opportunities at all times and in all places, in the true nobility of our great Exemplar, who was very found among the poor and the despised, elevating and blessing them with his counsels and presence. In this way, and this alone, will you be enabled to subdue that deep-rooted prejudice which is doing the work of oppression in the free states to a most dreadful extent. When this demon has been cast out of your own hearts, when you recognize the colored woman as a woman - then will you be prepared to send out an appeal to Southern sisters, entreating them to 'go and do likewise. -Grimké, 1838, pp. 60-61

What is significant about Grimké's statement is that it was directed towards white women and called on them to push for social change. We can take this statement as a challenge to community psychology to be more active in dismantling oppression.

Recent Special Issues of Journals of Particular Relevance to this Chapter

Wandersman, A. (Ed.). (2003). Science and community psychology [Special section]. American Journal of Community Psychology, 31(3/4).

Watts, R. J., & Serrano-García, I. (Eds.). (2003). The psychology of liberation: Responses to oppression [Special issue]. American Journal of Community Psychology, 31(½).

Annual Reviews of Social, Community, and Preventive Interventions

Cowen, E. L. (1973). Social and community intervention. Annual Review of Psychology, 24, 423-472.

Kessler, M., & Albee, G. W. (1975). Primary prevention. Annual Review of Psychology, 26, 557-591.

Kelly, J. G. (1977). Social and community interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 28, 323-361.

Bloom, B. L. (1980). Social and community interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 31, 111-142.

Iscoe, I., & Harris, L. C. (1984). Social and community interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 35, 333-360.

Gesten, E., & Jason, L. (1987). Social and community interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 38, 427-460.

Heller, K. (1990). Social and community intervention. Annual Review of Psychology, 41, 141-168.

Levine, M., Toro, P. A., & Perkins, D. V. (1993). Social and community interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 44, 525-558.

Reppucci, N. D., Woolard, J. L., & Fried, C. S. (1999). Social, community, and preventive interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 50, 387-418.

Shinn, M., & Toohey, S. M. (2003). Community contexts of human welfare. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 427-459.

Other Key Recent Books in Community Psychology

Rappaport, J., & Seidman, E. (Eds.). (2000). Handbook of community psychology. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

Revenson, T. A., Livert, D. E., D'Augelli, A. R., French, S. E., Hughes, D., Seidman, E., Shinn, M., & Yoshikawa, H. (2002). A quarter century of community psychology: Readings from the American Journal of Community Psychology. Norwell, MA: Kluwer.

Revenson, T. A., Livert, D. E., D'Augelli, A. R., French, S. E., Hughes, D., Seidman, E., Shinn, M., & Yoshikawa, H. (2002). Ecological research to promote social change: Methodological advances from community psychology. Norwell, MA: Kluwer.