Community Psychology

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The term ‘community’ cannot be defined from one perspective due to its complexity and the complex reality or context in which it exists and as well as the complexity of human nature. Community psychology is mainly concerned with individuals, groups and the community as a whole. Community psychologists have their own definitions of the concept ‘community’. Those studying community are introduced to new explanations to the terms community and community psychology for a better understanding. These new explanations are then coupled with the initial understanding which they had before engaging with the course. A variety of perspectives introduced throughout the course shape person’s understanding of community and community psychology. The purpose of this essay is to critically discuss how my understanding of these concepts has changed throughout the modules and what I have come to know. Prior knowledge and perception one had of the concept community before engaging critically with the course was vague, stereotypical, generalized and somewhat incomplete. That prior knowledge was acquired through socialization and the social, political and religious context in which one exists, past and present. One referred to community commonly as being a geographical location or area in which a group of people reside in, for instance, one would simply refer to Glenwood, Durban as a community. One used to perceive community as also being small in scale and often used to describe a rural or underdeveloped area. Community and cities or suburban areas used to be described as being totally different to another, almost opposites. Community was known to be a hometown. This ideology was what I grew up knowing. Communities were known to be completely separate from one another and people from one community had neither relations nor similarities with the next community. In South Africa during the apartheid regime this representation of community was instilled in many South Africans and this is...
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