New book: Liberation Practices

This new book, edited by Taiwo Afuape and Gillian Hughes, both based in London, contains contributions from several members of this network.  While not specifically about Liberation Psychology, there are multiple references to the ideas of Ignacio Martín-Baró and to Liberation Psychology.  Click the image to go to the publisher’s page.  (If you’d like a pre-publication draft of the chapter by Carolyn Kagan and I, then send an email via this site’s contact page.)

image of book cover: Liberation Practices, Routledge, 2016

 

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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: http://www.uca.edu.sv/coleccion-digital-IMB/

Thanks to Christian Chacón for this information.

 

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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
and
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.

 

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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 http://mary-watkins.net/books/
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Liberation Psychology: 25 years on. Some further materials.

1) On our videos page, we have added an audio recording of an interview with Martín-Baró from 1988.  In it he speaks of the circumstances under which he was working, including a wider political analysis of the Salvadorean conflict, the impact of torture and repression, and his survival of terrorist attacks on the University.  Thanks to Brinton Lykes for making this available.

2) Brinton is also the co-founder of the Martín-Baró Fund, which makes funding available to “grassroots groups throughout the world who are challenging institutional repression and confronting the mental health consequences of violence and injustice in their communities.”  Their current newsletter “The Just Word” has several articles (including a rare piece in English byElizabeth Lira from Chile) about Nacho and his impact, you can download it here.

3) Bruce Levine, another network member has also published an article to mark the 25th anniversary of Martín-Baró’s murder.  He reflects on the collusion of the American (sic) Psychological Association with the torture programme in occupied Guantánamo, (depicted in this film) noting that

“Liberation psychology – which Martin-Baró helped popularize – challenges adjustment to an unjust societal status quo and energizes oppressed people to resist injustices.”

You can read Bruce’s piece in “Truth Out” here.

4) Finally, about 12 years ago, when, with some difficulty, I got my copies of the two Cover A and Ivolumes of Martín-Baró’s “Psicología desde Centroamérica”, I translated the prologues and summaries for my own use.  A revised version of my translation of the Prologue to volume 1, “Acción e Ideología” is available on request.  This prologue gives a very clear account of his project to reconstruct social psychology, from the perspective of the peoples of Central America.  Please treat these notes for what they are, an initial translation without any review or other checks.  It is a great shame that more of Nacho’s work has not been translated into other languages to give a wider audience access to the breadth and depth of his work.  The translation is available, HERE, for personal use.

 

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IMB and the 99% from El Salvador to Occupy – Adrianne Aron

Now available here (and from the Documents page) Adrianne Aron:  IMB and the 99%: from El Salvador to Occupy.

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Austerity and psychology

The British Psychological Society’s monthly magazine, The Psychologist has been carrying a series on austerity and psychology.  At our request this month’s articles have been made open access, which seems correct given the theme.

Charting ‘the mind and body economic’  The Midlands Psychology Group introduce a special issue dedicated to the theme of ‘austerity’ Page Numbers: 232-235

“Neoliberal ‘austerity’ programmes – favoured by many governments across the globe since the ‘Great Recession’ of 2007 – add up to a toxic regime for the mind and body of the ordinary citizen. So far, psychologists have done little to challenge the dubious scientific assumptions upon which these programmes rest. If anything, they have sought to profit from them: chiefly through the mass promotion of therapies and techniques claimed to counteract the mental and emotional damage wrought by an ever more corrosive world. But there are other ways of doing psychology; and the articles in this special issue point the way towards a far more socially aware (and arguably more scientific) version of the discipline.”  read on

Austerity in the university Ian Parker on increasing pressure and emotional labour at work for academics in times of crisis Page Numbers: 236-239

Inequality and the next generation Gary Thomas explains how the gradient of difference can impact upon identity in the classroom Page Numbers: 240-243

Gary Thomas makes reference to Wilkinson, R. & Pickett, K. (2009) [1]. The spirit level: Why more equal societies almost always do better. London: Allen Lane. – For North American readers, I understand that the book didn’t sell over there partly because the title uses a British term:  a “spirit level” is the device builders and joiners use to check that something is horizontal.

Neoliberal austerity and unemployment David Fryer and Rose Stambe examine critical psychological issues Page Numbers: 244-249

The impact of austerity on a British council estate Carl Harris takes an ‘ecological model of systems’ approach Page Numbers: 250-253

For non-British readers, in Carl Harris’s article – ‘council estate’ means an area of rented  ‘social housing’ originally built by the local council (municipality) but now usuallly semi privatised (in terms of ownership and management).

If there is one thing missing from the issue it is treatment of the role of propaganda in promoting austerity as a social and economic policy.  The mantra that ‘there is no money’, repeated ad nauseam throughout Europe, is frankly a myth as heterodox economists like Steve Keen, and Ann Pettifor [2] have been showing. Why the myths about money and its creation are perpetuated is a complicated story but the kind of analysis of propaganda made by Alex Carey [3] in Australia and Noam Chomsky [4]  in the USA can help shine some light on what’s actually going on.

1. Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2009). The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better. Harmondsworth: Penguin.  see also http://bit.ly/1hbzQix
2. Pettifor, A. (2014). Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance. London: Prime Economics. Retrieved from http://www.primeeconomics.org/?wpsc-product=just-money-how-society-can-break-the-despotic-power-of-finance
3. Carey, A. (1997). Taking the Risk out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty (edited by A Lowrey). Champaign, Illinois, USA: University of Illinois Press.

4. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (Pantheon, 1988)

 

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New Pacifica Institute Newsletter on Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, & Ecopsychology

This newsletter is becoming a useful resource on Liberation psychology and its connections with related fields of study and struggle.  Did you know, for example that despite Bhutan touting its high levels of “Gross National Happiness” (as an alternative to the flawed Gross National Product), its military has murdered, raped, tortured and/or imprisoned many citizens, some of whom are now refugees in other places.  The newsletter includes an article on work with Bhutanese refugees in the USA.  I’m looking forward to the book that will appear this autumn by Mary Watkins and Ed Casey on the Mexico-USA border wall.  They have recently visited  Palestine to learn about the parallels with the apartheid separation wall erected by the Israeli occupation power.  There are many other interesting things in this 36 page edition, with a lot of emphasis on ecological issues and indigenous traditions and knowledge.

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Liberation practices in community psychology – a Brazilian view

Slides from seminar by James Ferreira Moura Jr, given at Research Institute for Health and Social Change, Manchester Metropolitan University, March 13th, 2014.
“Theoretical and methodological conceptions in liberation practices in Community Psychology: a Brazilian point of view”
Thanks to James for a fascinating talk and for making available the slides which do give some insight into the distinctive nature of Community Psychology in Ceará over the last 30 years.  Fortaleza, Ceará, is the site of the next International Congress of Community Psychology in September, 2014.

IMG_3628

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Liberation Psychology in Southern Italy

 

Memorial to judges murdered by the Camorra located at one of the community projects described in the article.

This article by Alfredo Natale, Catarina Arcidiacono and Salvatore Di Martino, recently appeared (in English) in the Colombian journal Universitas Psychologica.  It is a very intersting application of liberation psychology (and related) concepts and ideas in the challenging context of a Camorra (Neapolitan crime syndicate) – dominated area of Southern Italy.  People who went to the European Community Psychology Congress last autumn had the opportunity to visit the town in question, including a restaurant established using monies confiscated from the Camorra (under Italian law).

The article describes working experiences in relation to empowering activi-
ties, which have been carried out in a local community in the province of
Caserta (in Southern Italy), a place characterized by the widespread pres-
ence of organized criminal groups. In this study, workplace is intended as a
community network aimed at the promotion of coscientization, liberation,
and well-being. Specifically, this paper features initiatives and projects
aimed at establishing new community values through a re-construction of
a work-based social system standing against criminal clans, which tend to
dominate not only economical transactions but also civil life.
Key words: authors Network, social economy, conscientization, collective well-being.
Key words plus: Gomorrah, Criminal Power, De-Growth.

The authors also make the connection between de-growth and conscientisation. De-growth as they note “obliges us to question the concepts of social justice, freedom, health, welfare” and this also happens through the processes of conscientisation and re-signification within the project.  Here then is an example of a community-liberation psychology praxis that prefigures a different model of society where people share and live in peace, rather than the model of endless growth that is underpinned by, and generative of violence of exploitation and the meaningless materialism of consumerism.  As we ate at the restaurant I told some of the other congress participants about our Manchester work on a local Steady State Economy.  At the time the interest and receptiveness people showed in this economic and political work surprised me.  But maybe it shouldn’t and there is a greater connection between these ideas and practices than I had thought.  and maybe it was the inspirational project that we were enabled to vicariously experience that was subliminally making the connections for us all.

What do you think?

Natale, A., Arcidiacono, C., & Di Martino, S. (2013). From “Gomorrah domain” to “Don Peppe Diana lands”. A Southern Italian experience of work-based liberation, community networking, and well-being. Universitas Psychologica, 12(4), 1037–1047. doi:10.11144/6203
Mark Burton
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