Registration is open for the 6th International Community Psychology Conference

Sixth International Conference on Community Psychology (ICCP)
27 – 30 May 2016
International Convention Centre, Durban, South Africa

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN 6th International Conference on Community Psychology
Global Dialogues on Critical Knowledges, Liberation and Community International Convention Centre, Durban, South Africa
27-30 May 2016
Join us in Global Dialogues on Critical Knowledges, Liberation and Community in
Durban, South Africa in May 2016!Please click here to register; see website for more information.
SincerelyMohamed Seedat, Conference Chair
Shahnaaz Suffla, Conference Co-chair

COnference logoConference leaflet, including call for contributions:  CLICK HERE.


About the Liberation Psychology Network

We’ve updated our “About” page which gives information about the network and its purpose.  It is worth posting it here too.  Why not download the pdf version, print it off and distribute it at your events, put it on the noticeboard, or discuss it with a colleague?

About Liberation Psychology and this network

You can download this as a pdf file for distribution at your event etc.

This international network helps users of English discover and share resources, experiences and new directions in Liberation Psychology.


Liberation psychology began in Latin America. It drew on currents of radical and critical praxis from that region and beyond and was first proposed by Ignacio Martín-Baró at the Universidad Centroamericana in El Salvador.

Some Liberation Psychology material has appeared in English, but most, including nearly all of Martí- Baró’s work, is only available in Spanish. It deserves being better known by those who do not read Spanish.

Liberation psychology is relevant to the work of psychologists and their allies concerned with oppression and exclusion, social trauma, social movements and resistance in the global South, and in core countries of the world system. Many people use English either as a first language or as their route of access to the international literature.

Latin American liberation psychology has focussed on the particular situation and identity of Latin America but exclusion and exploitation happens everywhere. If the Liberation Psychology of Martín-Baró and other Latin American comrades was the first Liberation Psychology, our world desperately needs a Second Liberation Psychology, not to replace their efforts but to take them further so we have a global Liberation Psychology for the extremely challenging situation that we find ourselves in more than 25 years after Martín Baró’s murder.

The Network:

  • Connects like minded workers, who are often isolated, to share their understandings and practical experience of liberatory approaches and to offer mutual support.

  • Provides access to the key ideas and works of Latin American liberation psychology and kindred approaches.  Our website links and hosts English language works (written as well as audio-visual)  Network members with knowledge of Spanish and/or Portuguese are key bridging resource.

  • Offers a bridge between workers in Latin America and other regions of the global South, and with those in core regions concerned with the “South” in our midst (exploitation, migration, war, (neo-)colonialism and exclusion of the Other).

  • Explores what Liberation Psychology means in contexts other than Latin America.

  • Hosts this web portal and blog which is enabled as a social network, and an email list.  See how to use the site.

The network is what its members make it. The possibilities are only limited by our imagination, energy and willingness to try new ways of doing Liberation Psychology: the constructively practical critical psychology.


New digital collection of Martín Baró’s works

Now available, a digital collection of Ignacio Martín Baró’s writings.  While these will of course mostly be in Spanish, it will be a valuable resource since much of his work is not well known, even in Spanish speaking countries.  This is an initiative of students at his University, The Universidad Centroamericana in San Salvador.  Here is the link to the collection:

Thanks to Christian Chacón for this information.



Call for articles: Ethics, Psychology and War

Ethics, Psychology and War

Special issue

Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

Abstract submission deadline: December 1st 2015

Full paper submission deadline: March 1st 2016

Edited by

Paul S. Duckett

Serdar M. Değirmencioğlu

Victoria University, Australia

Doğuş University, Turkey

Focus of the special issue

The purpose of this special issue is to respond to the recently published Hoffman Report and invite contributions to the Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology on the topics of war and peace that discuss the past, present and future relationship of Community Psychology to the industrial-military complex. This special issue is open to literature review articles, articles on new empirical and social action projects and theoretical writings and position papers.


Psychology has a long history of working closely with government agencies to help with ‘military problems’. Aptitude and intelligence testing of soldiers, the development of facial recognition software, studies on attitude formation, and motivation studies are just a few of the areas of psychology that have been directly applied, often directly commissioned, by the military. Psychological operations, methods to promote soldier resilience and the development of torture techniques are among the most recent areas where the relationship between psychology and the military continues.

This relationship has now become foregrounded in academic and public debate following the Hoffman Report, which was commissioned by the American Psychological Association (APA), the most powerful professional association in psychology. The report portrays the relationship between the military establishment in the US and APA as follows:

In some ways, DoD [Department of Defense] is like a rich, powerful uncle to APA, helping it in important ways throughout APA’s life. Acting independently of a benefactor like this is difficult. (p.72)

The close ties between psychology and the military-industrial establishment in the US and elsewhere so evident for an independent team of lawyers were hardly ever questioned in mainstream psychology.

While mainstream psychology has had a lot to do with war and much of it has been in regard to its promotion, psychology has also had voices committed to the prevention of war. In response to the nuclear brinksmanship engaged in by the US President Regan during the 1980s, a number of groups of psychologists developed to promote peace.

Curiously, Community Psychology appears to have paid rather sparse attention to the topics of war and peace. One might have expected Community Psychology – with its focus on communities, social change, well-being and its value-driven approach – to be well suited to address the impact of war and to take a political and ethical position towards war. However, Community Psychology appears to have been somewhat silent on the subject – at least in its major publishing outputs and in conferences in Australasia, North America and Europe (Değirmencioğlu, 2010; Duckett 2005). War appears to have remained a rather subsidiary topic in Community Psychology and there has been little, if any, political or ethical analysis of the subject (Değirmencioğlu & Duckett, forthcoming). One might conclude that it is difficult to know what the ethical stance of a community psychologist might be to the topic of war. This Special Issues will address this apparent deficit.

Submission process and deadlines

For this special issue we warmly welcome contributions from community and applied social psychology. We invite detailed abstracts (max. 500 words or 2 pages) indicating the potential contribution. The most relevant and promising abstracts will be selected for further development into full manuscripts (7000 words).

All manuscripts will be blind peer-reviewed. Abstracts and manuscripts should be submitted via the JCASP online system (, with a cover letter identifying that they are for the special issue on ethics, psychology and war. Normal JCASP guidelines for authors apply.

Further information on this special issue can be obtained from paul.ducket(AT)


New events: course on disasters and 6th Int Conf of Community Psychology


14-16 December, 2015:  HAVANA – CUBA

Course poster     Course information leaflet


Sixth International Conference on Community Psychology (ICCP)
27 – 30 May 2016
International Convention Centre, Durban, South Africa

COnference logoConference leaflet, including call for contributions:  CLICK HERE.


2015 Newsletter, Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology specialization, Pacifica Graduate Institute


Students and faculty are happy to share their work with you! Please enjoy our annual newsletter about the eco-liberation and community work we are engaged in!


Liberation Psychology: another kind of critical psychology

Some of the contents

Some of the contents

Published this month is the Routledge Handbook of Critical Psychology at the silly price of £140 (or USDollars 225).  It is edited by Ian Parker.

It includes a chapter by me (Mark Burton – Manchester, UK) and Luis Gómez (Costa Rica): Liberation Psychology: Another Kind Of Critical Psychology.  In it we firmly locate liberation psychology within the long term de-colonial movement. Other chapters from colleagues involved in aspects of liberationist psychology include:
Indigenous Psychologies and Critical-Emancipatory Psychology Narcisa Paredes-Canilao, Ma. Ana Babaran-Diaz, Ma. Nancy B. Florendo and Tala Salinas-Ramos with S. Lily Mendoza
Postcolonial Theory: Towards A Worlding of Critical Psychology
Desmond Painter
From Critical Disability Studies To Critical Global Disability Studies Shaun Grech
Political Psychology and the American Continent: From Colonization and Domination to Liberation and Emancipation
Raquel S. L. Guzzo
Critical Psychology in the Arab World: Insights from Critical Community Psychology in the Palestinian Colonial Context
Ibrahim Makkawi

I haven’t read the chapters other than our own, and there is a lot of what I’d call academic critical psychology and a lot on discourse, deconstruction and psychoanalysis (for all of which I’ve little enthusiasm).  But it is something you might ask your library to order, and here’s a form to do so.

I’m also happy to supply a re-publication draft of our chapter if you write to me via the contact page.



Toward Psychologies of Liberation / Hacia Psicologías de Liberación

Mary Watkins and Helene Shulman announce the Spanish translation of Toward Psychologies of Liberation. We are grateful to Montserrat Chanivet Marabot for this translation.  Please share this with others you think might be interested.

​You can download the translation for free at

Liberation Psychology: 25 years on. A poem for Ignacio Martín-Baró

Lambs of God
(for my professor Ignacio Martín-Baró, written by Eugenia Castro)
The silence of the night
was broken in pieces
by the engines of the Cherokees.
The ground was trembling
with horror and grief
at malign and evil steps
The grass tried to stop them!
and impotent flowers screamed
calling help from heaven…
Shut up!!!
Angered boots squashed them
and a scarf of silence
covered the petals on the ground.
A cry of sorrow came from the trees
saying as a chorus:
You do not belong to us,
bloody thief, you robbed
my colors, colors of life.
They did not stop;
blind and deaf by the flag
dumb and brutalized by the march,
drugged by warrior words,
legacy from Malinche and Ladino past.
The door was raped.
without defence let them pass
the nightmare begun:
Time-space, space-reason
reason-time, space-time.
People’s chorus
Question answered ever since,
question answered by Arnulfo
to the wing – from East to West.
Answer known by all.
Answer given by the 7 lambs.
The other chorus:
The master plan was in time.
-American watches are exact-
you know how famous these watches are.
You know time is money,
and money is never enough.
Who are you on my road?!
A repeated story, started again:
The Antithesis against Lambs.
Darkness against light and brightness.
Aliens against kind Masters.
Violence against non-violence.
A repeated story ended again,
again, again, again… and again.
The day was over…
new Martyrs from the Calvary
as splinters in our hearts.
We are with you loved Lambs
God’s people, Lambs of God.
Con una rafaga de tiros ellos silenciaron tus labios Padre Nacho,
mas nosotros siguimos contigo cantando y gritando
“Tu sabes que esto no es justo”
Padre Nacho, with a spray of bullets they silenced your lips
but we continue with you; singing and screaming:
“You know this is not right”. 

Ana Eugenia Castro is a psychologist from EL Salvador, who lives and works in Australia. Her approach is within the social psychology of liberation and integrates different therapies, including existential, systemic, and creative arts-based approaches.


Racialized State Terrorism in Ferguson Missouri USA: A Prime Target for Liberation Studies and Action

Make the Police Shoot Themselves: Require they wear body cameras

Roderick J. Watts

City University of New York

Mark asked me to write something about the recent Mother Jones Magazine article on police violence against people of African descent (  The article is well worth reading especially if you have the research skills to propose a methodology that would help us better monitor efforts to stop the racist carnage.  Where I am going with Mark’s invitation has taken me far afield of the article, an it is longer than I planned!  Call it therapy for the negative emotions stirred up by these ongoing police killings. That said, I tend to be pragmatic. I will address the question of what we can do curtail this and other forms of social oppression.

Like some many of my friends and students, I was very angry, saddened and disillusioned by this latest high-profile tragedy in Ferguson Missouri where 18 year old Michael Brown was gunned down by police. This act, or more damningly the charade of a prosecution that took place and ended without an indictment is part of what see as racialized state terrorism. Although this term in typically reserved for state actions on a mass scale in places outside of the G20, the aims are essentially the same:

State terrorism is a systematic governmental policy in which massive violence is practiced against a given population group with the goal of eliminating any behavior that promotes political struggle or resistance by member of that group. Any state that engages in terrorism is not a protector of citizens; rather, it violates civil and human rights…”[i]

Ferguson is a place where the policing and judicial systems regularly terrorize Black and Brown communities that are already under attack from within and without. As is the case in many other places around the country, Black teenagers go to jail for nickel bags, while White adult police officers kill Black adults with the implied consent of judicial institutions that are supposed to make killers accountable. It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out how this can terrorize, traumatize and demoralize communities of color everywhere in the system’s orbit.

Although policing in the USA can take the form of institutionalized racial terrorism, it was once a popular “sport” for amateurs during the era of lynching that peaked in the late 1800s. Ralph Ginzburg’s documentation of thousands of these murders began only just before the peak period in the starkly titled book 100 Years of Lynchings. He filled his book with photocopies of newspaper articles of the day that offer a glimpse of this populist terrorism. His is a simple, yet powerful act of social research. For the record, as Wikipedia notes “Lynchings were also very common in the Old West, where victims were primarily men of Mexican and Chinese minorities, although whites were also lynched.” This tells me that the dehumanization of Africans was so well accepted that it was difficult for people to see how once accepted, dehumanization spreads to new targets that were once seen as human. Dehumanization is at the heart of oppression. It may start with people who look like me, and others further in the margins such as transgendered Black women—but it will work its way up to others if we allow it to. Don’t we ever learn, that any one of us can be next?

The point of this historical reference is that US terrorism continues in the present moment through professionalized lynching in police departments and “stand your ground” legislation that shields amateurs from prosecution.  But even this is not at the root of the social ills in Missouri and around the nation. Khalil Gibran Muhammad’s book The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (2011) traces the centuries-long history of the dehumanization of Black men, aided by the pseudo-scholarly work of many in the academy. His thesis tracks with the book Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II in 2009 (D. Blackmon) and also The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander in 2012. Today, the school to jail track that criminalizes youth of color figures prominently is the modern legacy of racial oppression. Carter Woodson’s book the Miseducation of the Negro from the 1930s shows how important caste is to White supremacy in major institutions like education. Violence comes in many forms. This history shows how the USA got to where it is today.

Scholars have always played ball on both sides of the divide of humanism and de-humanism, but let’s face it: the settings most of us spend our time in do not encourage us to be major players in the struggle for liberation. We are up against power players with the resources to manufacture and disseminate the narratives and consent needed to

further their interests. So what are liberation psychologists to do?

I claim no brilliant or original insights on this question, but I’d like to contribute to our on-going dialog and reflection on positioning ourselves in against oppression. First, psychology is not nearly enough—ours is a field of liberation studies and action (LiSA)–but you know that. Second, many of us pursuing LiSA have positioned ourselves in careers that give us a measure of autonomy. In my view, the challenge is to determine what our personal gifts are then commit to long-term alliances with social movements. Only a few of us have what it takes to excel at the vanguard of such movements or inspire the masses from behind a bullhorn.  Racialized terrorism whether state-sponsored or through vigilantism needs “best practices” for personal and collective resistance.  At the micro-level we can we engage with individuals and small groups. Members of marginalized populations and communities contend with an on-going pattern of traumatic experiences—wrongful deaths, discrimination, and the micro aggressions of daily live they encounter in public institutions . These traumas were vividly evident in the local response to the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. We need LiSA professionals who can apply the healing arts and sciences through critical consciousness rather than from the perspective of the pathology-centered industry that dominates US mental health. See the book Advancing Social Justice Through Clinical Practice (Edited by Aldarondo), for examples on how it can be done.

At the organization level, those of us in the geopolitical North are reminded of Seymour Sarason’s work on the creation of settings. In particular, sustainable, social-change settings. I can think of two examples where LiSA can play a role. In the schools we can partner with teachers who do social justice education. Working collaboratively with young people we can help prepare them for roles in community organizing and ultimately movement politics. For example, I am working with my colleagues in planning the Free Minds, Free People conference convened by the Education for Liberation Network ( and co-sponsored by its wide variety of allies. The Network brings together teachers, high school and college students, researchers, parents and community-based activists-educators from across the country to build a movement to develop and promote education as a tool for liberation. Second, many of us would like to see is a school to movement pipeline that connects school children, their parents and the surrounding neighborhoods so that the community capacity needed to push back on racialized terrorism and other forms of injustice can occur.

Healing+ Well-being, social movement capacity, institution building, and participatory research are all areas where so-called best practices from LiSA and play a role. Two last examples for the LiSA researchers reading this: My colleague Ben Kirshner and I are conducting a 4+ year, international study of youth community organizing in the US, Ireland and South Africa. We often hear leaders in the organizations tell us that they need brief position papers from scholars to bolster credibility with certain audiences. Better yet, they say, have these scholars who will stick their necks out as well and take a public positions on contentious issues.

Lastly, there is the challenging role of working with the police! Go to this story about a seemingly rigorous study that shows significant reductions in police violence for departments that began using body cameras to monitor their actions on the street ( Don’t sneer—having conscious people working in the belly of the beast as others engage in frontal assaults of same pack twice the punch.

Thanks for reading.  I am posting this here first, because I value thoughts on these matters. I am also I am considering another version of this for the Community Psychologist. I would love to have some feedback and to hear about the niches others have found a meaningful place for their LiSA skills.


[i] Jalata, A. (2005). State Terrorism and Globalization: The case of Ethiopia and Sudan. International Journal of Comparative Sociology 46(1-2):79-102