Emancipatory and Participatory Methodologies in Peace, Critical and Community Psychology is an edited volume by three psychologists, two from South Africa and one from the United States, involved in the subfields of peace, critical and community psychology.
The book offers a unique set of case studies that invite readers to question and reimagine the concept of community engagement. It provides an overview and analysis of numerous, creative participatory methods to community engagement designed to improve well-being at both the individual and societal level. It is also meant to dislocate dominant discourses in different areas of psychology.
The book offers critical accounts of methodological applications in the global context as illustrations of the liberatory capacities of participatory engagements. It encourages readers to grapple with the ambiguities, complexities and messiness of adopting participatory research approaches as more than detached formulaic methods of resistance and liberation.
The world is characterised by enormous disparities in the wealth and health of people, as well as uneven social recognition of communities and groups across geography and biography. In such a world, it is increasingly recognised that sustainable justice requires socially engaged research with individuals and communities, combined with emancipatory action that resists hegemony and inscribes generative spaces and opportunities towards the well-being and rights of especially the marginalised. The volume thus focuses on community engagement as critical and liberatory praxis. The participatory research examples described in the different chapters are meant to encourage researchers, scholars, practitioners and students to question assumed knowledge about community engagement and community engaged research, and to inspire social justice-oriented scholarship.
The cases studies and methods portrayed are as varied as the contexts in which they are located. In most of the case studies, the personal is linked to the political with a social justice imperative as participants from marginalised communities engage within power hierarchies, deconstruct power relations, and enact agency. In other instances, the methods are no less participatory but the aim is more focused on inner and outer harmony, psychological well-being, conflict resolution and intergroup reconciliation. In all the case studies, there is a strong emphasis on methods in which community members are at the centre of efforts to promote social change.
The methods described include group storytelling, community arts, asset mapping, dialogues, creative writing, embroidery, filmmaking, Photovoice, “writing back” to power, and other means of engaging in liberatory praxis. Ultimately, this volume will provide readers with a deeper understanding of a wide range of emancipatory methodologies in peace, critical, and community psychology, and will encourage establishment of an effective social and epistemic justice agenda.