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Special Thematic Section: Journal of Social and Political Psychology

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This special section is a response to a changing socio-political order. It aims to advance an intellectual agenda for a social psychology of activism for health and other forms of social justice in a post-liberal world.

The field of community psychology emerged in the 20th Century as a critical response to the health inequalities and other forms of social injustice facing marginalised communities. Community psychology sought to mobilise communities, in partnerships with the powerful, redistributing power and celebrating community agency. It assumed a broad societal consensus in favour of human rights, tolerance, freedoms, cohesion and the need to eliminate social inequalities. Dialogical communication within and between communities and shared identities, solidarities and sense of community were key concepts. As much as critical psychologists and activists specialised in identifying gross transgressions of such values and failures of dialogical ideals, those ideals remained benchmarks or touchstones.

We suddenly find ourselves in an era when these liberal values are no longer taken for granted, and where the social preconditions for relations of dialogue, trust and mutual respect have been eroded. The conceptual scaffolding which sustained critical and community psychologists no longer seems ‘fit for purpose’. The appropriate targets and means of activism are hotly debated, while many intellectuals seem bewildered by the changing order, responding with fear, denial or paralysis.

This special thematic section aims to develop a critical community psychology response to this situation through dialogue between authors of different generations, locations, and disciplines. It will consider, among others, the following questions:

  • What are the main contemporary transformations affecting the theory, practice and values commonly associated with the field of activism and community mobilisation in health and social justice?
  • What are the continuities with the recent past, and what can we learn from other illiberal spaces and times?
  • What new theoretical tools and substantive foci are called for by these re-configurations?
  • Where are the ripest opportunities for activism to make a difference in this complex scenario
  • How might we re-imagine a ‘post-liberal’ or even ‘post-critical’ community psychology?

We welcome submissions within this broad frame. Theoretical, review, empirical and position pieces are all appropriate.

A two-round process of review will take place. Please submit long abstracts (500 words) by Monday, 26 June 2017 to Cristian Montenegro (c.r.montenegro@lse.ac.uk). Following review, selected authors will be invited to submit full papers by 15 December 2017 for peer review. The special section will be published in early 2019. Queries may be directed to Cristian Montenegro. JSPP is an open access journal without author fees.

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