Community Psychology: Challenges, Controversies and Emerging Consensus / Edition 1

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Community Psychology is an exciting, controversial and challenging field within psychology. In this engaging and lively book, internationally renowned community psychologist Jim Orford discusses the latest debates, research and practices within this growing field.

Community Psychology: Challenges, Controversies and Emerging Consensus covers concepts and practices that range from those that derive from the more radical critical and liberatory approaches to the subject to those from health and applied social psychology. The book engages with a number of controversies such as conflicting ideas about appropriate sources of knowledge, what is meant by social position and its relationship with health, and the perceived value to the field of the concept of social capital. Community Psychology: Challenges, Controversies and Emerging Consensus offers readers a path through such controversies and seeks to reconcile the different approaches within the field.

Based on international qualitative and quantitative research, and illustrated with practical examples of community psychology work, this book is an essential read for both novice and experienced community psychologists, health and social psychologists and all those studying psychology at post-graduate level.

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Editorial Reviews

Written by a British psychologist and combining material from Britain, the US, and elsewhere, presents theory and practice relevant to understanding people and their problems as they are shaped by family, work and leisure groups, neighborhood, and socio-cultural groups. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"It provides fascinating reflection on the notion and importance of community psychology, and challenges more conventional ways of knowing about the location of problems and associated responses." (Drug and Alcohol Review, March 2009)

"This book is recommended for experienced and emerging researchers and practioners in psychology and public health, including postgraduate students. It provides a fascinating reflection on the notion and importance of community psychology, and challenges more conventional ways of knowing about the location of problems and associated responses." (Drug and Alcohol Review, March 2009)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470855935
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/4/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 482
  • Product dimensions: 6.61 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Professor Jim Orford, University of Birmingham, UK

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Table of Contents

About the Author     ix
Preface     xi
Acknowledgements     xxv
The Background to Community Psychology and What It Stands for     1
Challenging Psychology Over its Neglect of the Social     3
The individualism of psychology     3
The new public health psychology     20
Critical psychology     28
Community Psychology's Core Values: Empowerment, Liberation and Social Justice     35
Empowerment     35
Social constructionism and its critics     47
Liberation psychology     50
Social justice as a core value     61
The Debate over Knowledge in Community Psychology: Dissatisfaction with existing research methods     67
Support for qualitative research     69
Participatory and action research     77
Negotiating the community psychology researcher's role     86
What kind of science is community psychology?     93
Understanding Inequality and Its Effects on Health     99
Social Position and Inequalities in Health     101
The accumulation of evidence that health is related to social position     102
Social class': complexities and controversies     109
Inequality of income distribution     132
Psychosocial versus material explanations     134
Place and its Influence on Health and Well-being     147
Evidence for the influence of area on health and well-being     147
How neighbourhoods may (fail to) meet local health needs     159
Two Concepts for Understanding Inequalities by Position and Place     163
Social capital     163
Sense of community     181
The Experience of Disempowerment: Seven Examples     203
Disempowerment by War, Immigration, Homelessness or Unemployment     205
Communities caught up in war and its consequences     205
Groups of people adjusting to a new country     213
Experiencing homelessness     218
The unemployed and the under-employed     226
Disempowered Because of Income, Gender, or Sexual Orientation     237
The poor and socially excluded     237
Women     246
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people     256
Community Psychology Action: From Support to Liberation     265
Strengthening Social Support for Members of Disempowered Groups     267
Social support for young people     268
Social support interventions for women     275
Support for those with illness or disability or for their families     283
Responding to domestic violence     288
Support for LGBT groups     293
Social Action and Innovation     299
Moving to collective social action     299
Experimental social innovation and dissemination (ESID)     312
Empowering Communities     323
The theory of community coalitions     323
Collaborations, consortia and coalitions: examples of projects     331
Young people and collective action     339
Participation and Liberation     345
Participation in local action     345
Drawing on a diversity of world views     357
Projects to protect and sustain natural resources     361
Towards liberation for the poor and oppressed     367
Finale - Consensus and Challenge     377
References     383
Author Index     435
Subject Index     449
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