Social Change

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Psychology and Social Change

Week 2 – Study Notes

Social Change and Psychology: Psychologists as Change Agents Have you wondered about whether psychologists (as practitioners, researchers, educators, etc) have a role or responsibility in social change movements? This week, you will continue to explore the fundamentals of social change, but with a specific emphasis on psychology and social change. Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this week you will be able to:
• Explain psychologist’s professional and ethical obligations as social change agents. • Examine various roles psychologists might portray as change agents. Study Notes
The following articles examine the role and responsibility of psychologists with regard to social change. • Marsella (1998) addresses the importance of developing a global community psychology. The importance of developing a global community psychology and how this can be done is discussed. • The O’Neill (2004) article is especially important as it addresses the importance of moving beyond an individual focus and moving towards considering peoples’ behavior in the context of social systems. The issue of professional psychology’s tendency to consider complex phenomena on only an individual level apart form context is discussed. O’Neill goes on to address how psychological research and practice can contribute to the maintenance of the “status quo,” or it can help facilitate social change. • Prilleltensky (1989; 1997) discusses the relationship between social forces and professional psychology. He questions if psychology can and / or should be “value-neutral.” Prilleltensky (1997) also provides a framework for considering the ethical, social, and political implications of psychological theories and practices.  

Several organizations have been created to address the role of psychologists as social change agents, and to promote action. The following are websites for several of these organizations: Psychologists for...
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