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

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)

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 (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470855942
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/11/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 484
  • Product dimensions: 6.71 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Professor Jim Orford, University of Birmingham, UK

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Table of Contents

About the Author.




1. Challenging Psychology Over its Neglect of the Social.

The individualism of psychology.

The new public health psychology.

Critical psychology.

2. Community Psychology’s Core Values: Empowerment, Liberation and Social Justice.


Social constructionism and its critics.

Liberation psychology.

Social justice as a core value.

3. The Debate over Knowledge in Community Psychology.

Dissatisfaction with existing research methods.

Support for qualitative research.

Participatory and action research.

Negotiating the community psychology researcher’s role.

What kind of science is community psychology?


4. Social Position and Inequalities in Health.

The accumulation of evidence that health is related to social position.

Social class’: complexities and controversies.

Inequality of income distribution.

Psychosocial versus material explanations.

5. Place and its Influence on Health and Well-being.

Evidence for the influence of area on health and well-being.

How neighbourhoods may (fail to) meet local health needs.

6. Two Concepts for Understanding Inequalities by Position and Place.

Social capital.

Sense of community.


7. Disempowerment by War, Immigration, Homelessness or Unemployment.

Communities caught up in war and its consequences.

Groups of people adjusting to a new country.

Experiencing homelessness.

The unemployed and the under-employed.

8. Disempowered Because of Income, Gender, or Sexual Orientation.

The poor and socially excluded.


Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.


9. Strengthening Social Support for Members of Disempowered Groups.

Social support for young people.

Social support interventions for women.

Support for those with illness or disability or for their families.

Responding to domestic violence.

Support for LGBT groups.

10. Social Action and Innovation.

Moving to collective social action.

Experimental social innovation and dissemination.

11. Empowering Communities.

The theory of community coalitions.

Collaborations, consortia and coalitions: examples of projects.

Young people and collective action.

12. Participation and Liberation.

Participation in local action.

Drawing on a diversity of world views.

Projects to protect and sustain natural resources.

Towards liberation for the poor and oppressed.

Finale – Consensus and Challenge.


Author Index.

Subject Index.

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