El Salvador

I was interviewed on Friday by Douglas Arevalo of the University of Central America –  Ignacio Martín-Baró’s base in San Salvador, for a programme on the University radio.  My Spanish is a bit rusty and the phone line was not great, but it gave me the opportunity to reflect, among other things, on the limited knowledge of liberation psychology generally and Martín Barós’s contribution in particular in Europe.  Even in Spain where there is no language barrier and there have been published three books in the last decade (the collections of IMB’s articles compiled by Amalio Blanco and by Amalio and Luis de la Corte, and Luis’s book Memoria de un Compromiso [compromiso = commitment]) my perception is that there is relatively little active interest and use of the approaches.  One reason is perhaps that IMB’s major works have been published by the UCA press which is a small publisher in a small country.

I also spoke a bit on the fate of critical social psychology in the UK and other core countries – a point made variously by Maritza Montero, Luis de la Corte, myself and others – after the ‘crisis of social psychology’ in the 1970s the critics either went back to relatively traditional approaches (usually with a cognitive emphasis), or moved towards a linguistic emphasis (discourse analysis, conversation analysis) etc., elements of which almost came to define critical social psychology.  Others left the field altogether – either leaving psychology, or going into applied fields, or getting embroiled in psychoanalytic theory and practice.    And some became community psychologists.

What attracts me to Liberation Psychology is that it is concerned with lived social reality as the central problematic – the point is to change it – and concerns about its representation (a cognitivist delusion anyway?) are at best secondary.

Incidentally, the invitation to be interviewed was a direct result of this initiative.

There are people that fight for a day
And they are good.
There are others that fight for a year
And they are better
There are those that fight for many years
And they are very good
But there are those that fight all their lives:
They are indispensable.

Bertolt Brecht