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Harvard 1

The earliest example of this approach is The Authoritarian Personality by Adorno, Frenkl-Brunswick, Levinson and Sanford (1950), who proposed a specific set of personality characteristics (the ‘authoritarian personality’) to explain why some people were drawn to prejudiced and anti-democratic political beliefs, while others were not. Although there have been serious criticisms of the work of Adorno et al. (Christie, 1954; Christie and Cook, 1958; Stone, Lederer and Christie, 1993), there have also been some significant findings in this field of research. For example, it is often the case that those who score highly on the right-wing authoritarianism scale are more highly prejudiced towards out-groups and minorities (e.g. Altemeyer, 1981).

Harvard 2

An individual’s developed, relatively stable, yet changeable orientation to engage in various collective, social-political, problem-solving behaviours spanning a range from low-risk, passive, and institutionalized acts to high-risk, active, and unconventional behaviours.

(Corning and Myers, 2002, p. 704)

Harvard 3

Corning and Myers (2002) use the example of going to university, where people may enter new social environments and encounter activists, as an experience that could change people’s orientation towards activism.

Harvard 4

In order to measure a person’s activism orientation, Corning and Myers developed the activism orientation scale (AOS, Corning and Myers, 2002). You can use the AOS to measure your own orientation towards activism, and to compare it to the activism orientation of others.

Harvard 5

Politics almost always involves social groups. Think back to the 2016 USA election race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and see if you can list any social groups that you heard about in the coverage of their campaigns. You could be thinking about the different ways in which women and women’s groups were discussed and represented, or about how migrants and ethnic minorities were central to many debates. Or, you may be thinking about what it means to be a Republican or a Democrat, left or right wing, American and/or Mexican. These different social categories are a key part of politics. However, they also form an important part of people’s psychologies, contributing to their sense of self. For this reason, many social psychologists have long argued that the psychology of groups has much to offer in understanding political processes (Sindic and Condor, 2014).

Harvard 6

Subsequent studies have led to the development of a general model of crowd behaviour: the Elaborated Social Identity Model (ESIM) (Drury and Reicher, 1999; Reicher, 2001; Stott and Drury, 1999; Stott and Reicher, 1998). The ESIM starts from the position that crowd events are typically intergroup encounters, and examines how the identity of a group may develop and change as a result of interactions between groups. For example, a crowd of protesters can become united and develop a shared ‘anti-police’ identity, when the police use coercive force that is perceived by protesters as illegitimate and wrong (Reicher, 1996; Reicher and Haslam, 2011; Stott and Reicher, 1998; Stott and Drury, 2000). According to this perspective, the interaction between protesters and the police can explain what turns a crowd from peaceful to conflictual.

Harvard 7

Social psychologists working in this field are interested in discourses like this because the ways the social world is constructed can have very real social consequences, such as justifying the exclusion of some people from housing in the above example. They also tell us something about how the social world works, e.g. what is considered to be ‘common-sense’ and how these assumptions may change or be contested in different contexts. In other words, this approach helps to understand the politics of common sense, that is, the ways that some constructions become dominant but also how they might be challenged. Relevant research includes studies on how issues like race, immigration, refugees, asylum seekers, terrorism, climate change and war, are constructed in political debates (e.g. De Castella and McGarty, 2011; Every and Augoustinos, 2007; Kurz, Augoustinos, and Crabb, 2010; Tileagă, 2009), and also how these issues are understood by ‘lay’ people in everyday life (e.g. Figgou and Condor, 2007; Gibson and Hamilton, 2011; Andreouli, Greenland and Howarth, 2016).

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Paul Edwards has a disaster at work - the new company which he works for does not have an effective distribution system.

Paul is helping out with people at the coal face running native SQL reports..

Paul is at People a1 on the chart.

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Mark Burton

MARK BURTON
Hello, my name is Mark Burton. I'm now retired, but I used to work in intellectual disability services, also known as learning disability services in the National Health Service and in local government, and I've also maintained a practice as a part-time amateur academic.
I've had a strange trajectory, really. I studied psychology back in the early 1970s, and reacted pretty much against what was then seen as a revolution in psychology, the cognitive revolution, which didn't really set me alight very much. I became a behaviourist, and I pursued a PhD in behavioural psychology and then after that moved into the applied field. Initially in mental health, then training as a clinical psychologist. I specialised chiefly in learning disability where I suppose some of my other interests came together with my practice and my psychological interests to develop a much more social approach, and to focus very much on processes of oppression, liberation, mobilisation, development, and so on. Not individual focus psychology really, although one where individual people are important.
STEPHANIE TAYLOR
Mark Burton has worked in the area of liberation psychology which developed in Latin America and aimed to empower oppressed and marginalised communities.
MARK BURTON
Liberation psychology developed in Latin America really in a number of centres but it's particularly associated with the work of Ignacio Martin-Baro, who was both a social psychologist and a Jesuit priest, one of the six Jesuits who was assassinated in 1989 by the El Salvadorian army. Martin-Baro developed an approach to social psychology which he termed 'liberation psychology', which drew on liberation theology almost like a template. It emphasised a number of different things, but particularly social relevance. It particularly emphasised taking the perspective of the poor, the oppressed, and rethinking the theories and concepts and methods of psychology from their perspective. Despite having been a North American trained social psychologist, he was reacting very much against that tradition but in a very constructive way. The way he tackled that was not to, I suppose, throw the baby out with the bath water, but to rework many of the concepts from the perspective of the oppressed majorities of Latin America. In his case, to try to figure out which concepts could be used, which needed amending, and which needed abandoning.
STEPHANIE TAYLOR
Mark Burton and his colleagues have come up with six key principles which describe the core of liberation psychology.
MARK BURTON
We've pulled out six key points, I'll just go through those. The first is social justice and the social system. Liberation psychology adopts an anti-individualist approach, it doesn't see social problems as located within individuals, although clearly social problems are experienced by individuals and individuals play their part in both reproducing social problems, but also resisting them and transforming the context. The pursuit of social justice within a understanding of the nature of social problems as socially generated through social processes that are economic, they're about paranomination. They're not located in individuals, but they're systemic, is very central.
Secondly, understanding the perspective of those people who are oppressed in social systems. For the Latin Americans, that came directly from liberation psychology's preferential option for the poor.
In our thinking, and in that of more contemporary liberation psychologists, we will use some other terms like oppression, exclusion, marginalisation, and so on. We're focusing on those people. I suppose most of its most vulnerable, most affected by those global processes of economic and social domination. The idea there is that psychology has to be relevant to those people. It's trying to strive for psychology that speaks to their experience, that is relevant to them. It takes that preferential option. In other words, it prioritises work with them rather than those people who are the beneficiaries of the system.
Thirdly, becoming aware of the social forces and relations that affect people, and helping people to become aware of those relations and forces, and their situation within that nexus of social forces in order to change them. This draws on the concept that the Brazilian educator Paolo Freire developed, or at least popularised. He wasn't the initiator, which is known as conscientisation. This is somewhat similar to the notion of consciousness raising those used in the women's movement in the global north, where people understand their experience in terms of social relations both at the micro level of their experience but also at the macro level of the system that generates those social relations. That is in order to change the context that they're in.
Fourthly, going beyond appearances and questioning ideology. Liberation psychology takes a realist stance on the nature of the social world. It basically says oppression is real, it's not something that we conjured up in our minds, as are social relations. Our experience of them, and our understanding of them, is through a kind of an ideological cloud where the concepts and the ways in which those experiences and concepts are transmitted to us is imbued with ideology, with I suppose false meanings, false information. In liberation psychology there's always the attempt to try and, as Martin-Baro called it, de-ideologise, to strip social reality and social processes from the way in which they're ideologically constructed. For example, there is a lot of formulation of social problems which essentially blames the victim for those problems. Often there are theoretical conceptual frameworks that do that, so liberation psychologists would attempt to strip off those ideological understandings and get to, if you like, to the nub of what's really happening in terms of social processes.
Fifthly, then, liberation psychology has a stance on the use of theory that basically says it is not theory lead. It is lead from experience, from practice. That doesn't mean to say that it rejects theory, but rather it sees theory as really important and valuable but one which is developed on the basis of practice. The term often used is practice, the unity of theory in practice. In liberation psychology there's essentially the philosophy of constructing theory from the elements of practice, testing that against action, against the results of action and so on. That's very different from starting with a theory, starting with a concept, and then testing it out. It's the other way around with theory as a kind of scaffold for practice.
Sixthly, and somewhat connected to the stance on theory is the stance on method. Liberation psychologists tend to use a variety of methods, they are eclectic in their approach to method. That's not to say they're not critical in their magpie sort of use of different methods, but they're not doctrinaire, they don't say the only methodology is participant methodology. We can only use qualitative methods, there's a role for qualitative methods, there's a role for surveys which Martin-Baro used in this de-ideologisation work in El Salvador on public opinion, for example, using quite standard social psychological, sociological survey techniques for looking at public opinion. I think those six key points that we would use to identify the core of liberation psychology.

Carolyn Kagan

CAROLYN KAGAN
My name is Carolyn Kagan. I am Professor Emerita of Community Social Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University where I've worked since 1976. My interests are in working with people who are marginalised by the social system in different ways. Around agendas of increases, pursuit of social justice and greater social equality. Those are the areas, in various ways, that I've worked on all my career.
RACHEL MANNING
It would be really useful for you to tell us about how you understand scholar activism and how that relates to your own background?
CAROLYN KAGAN
I think scholar activism from a university perspective is both the same and different from scholar activism outside of the university. At its most simple it's the informed thinking and critical appraisal of social issues combined with strategies and actions that better the social conditions in which people live in pursuit of a social justice goal. There's a very clear goal and purpose. Scholarly activism requires collaboration, it requires partnership, it requires strategic alliances but most importantly it requires critical reflection. I think there's different ways of thinking about scholar activism. I think that we can think about it in terms of ... There is a literature on scholar activism and Rachel Payne describes three types of scholar activism. One is activism that is brought into the university so the research is informed by politics and informs politics. Another is participatory action research that works with people who are in marginalised situations around betterment for their conditions. The third is critical engagement with policy.
They're not mutually exclusive conditions and I would say that those ways of define scholarly activism apply to research. Being a scholar in a university is more than research. I think it's useful to think about what does scholar activism mean for teaching and what does it mean for engaging with other university practices and institutions. There's a bit of a tendency in the literature in some of the discussions for scholar activists to bemoan the difficulties of working in a neo liberal university. Yes it's difficult and yes it needs to be challenged but those very challenges and those who are working both within and against some of those near liberal processes are part of scholar activism.
I think there's something else to say about community collaborative research because it's within from universities there's why would you do it? It's not the easy option? That comes down again to it's almost like the moral position of the university. The question is to what extent the university resources, human, material, financial sometimes, to what extent are they used for the betterment of society directly. Not just indirectly through academic work. There's the idea of the engaged university and of engaged scholarship where a question to ask all the time is whether you're doing teaching or whether you're doing curriculum design or whether you're doing research, is there a way of doing this in a collaborative way that you can achieve whatever you're trying to achieve within the university but you're also benefiting collaborative partners. One of my areas that I would say of scholar activism is to work within the university to try and get the university systems to be more engaged. It's working both in and against the university but saying, "We need university commitment, we need university systems, we need systems of recognition for this kind of work, not just for publication in peer review journals. We need to get this kind of work recognised in workload management. All sorts of university systems.
I've been doing that since the 1970s with varying degrees of success. Very successful I the early 80s and then that whole system disintegrated as senior management changes within the university and other priorities come on. Quite successful in the 2000s and then that system disintegrates. The last thing that I've been doing in the university is again another process of involving people in the community to say what's needed for access to university resources so what's needed in the university to support that. Those different cycles of engaged university over time are interesting in terms of learning about the importance of context again. The policy context for universities is different in the 70s and in the 90s and in the 2000s and now. In some ways in the 70s, 80s it was much more difficult. There were no policy contexts that enabled you to spend time outside the university sitting in people's back rooms drinking tea developing trust. You're witnessing their lives which as a former scholar activism I can look them up in a moment if you like.
Now there's the impact of research agenda. Social impact of research everybody's jumping around like cats on a hot tin roof to think how they can maximise the impact of their research. I'm not suggesting that we play right into those artificial and target driven ways of allocating resources to universities and universities competing with each other. We can use some of the interest in those agendas to open the university to my agendas, to social justice agendas, to collaborative work with communities, to communities making demands of universities and using university resources and expertise in ways that aren't just situating the knowledgeable university people versus the ignorant external people. The boundaries are much more permeable that that.
The key to any kind of scholar activism has to be a commitment to reciprocity and mutuality that it's about combining different life worlds and different bodies of knowledge and of thereby enhancing both sides. One of the things about, just coming back to social movements, when I think of scholar activism in terms of some of the big social movements and activist movements, we're not talking about different life worlds. It's the same people, the educated elite running a lot of the campaigning groups. What is much more interesting, I think important, that work's important but the work that we're doing in community psychology more is working with the people who have different world experiences, different knowledge bases.
The knowledge that people who've had their children taken into care, and who are alcoholic and living poverty and maybe victims or survivors of domestic violence or survivors of sexual abuse and living in appalling housing their knowledge is quite different than the expertise knowledge in the universities. It's a real challenge to try to work across that boundary. It's a useful boundary and I think if there's a commitment to reciprocity and sharing it can benefit both parties, even to the degree that one project that we were involved with which wasn't a defined project, it was just something that we did over a long period of time was working with a group of women who lived on marginal estates. Every now and then they'd be talking and then I'd say something like, "Oh that's rather similar to what we'd call the psychological sense of community." They'd say, "Oh what's that?" You'd explain what that is and the next thing is they'd send me a copy of a letter that they'd written to the youth service to get some footballs over the summer period and saying, "What we're trying to develop here is a psychological sense of community." They're absolutely convinced that that got them their footballs.
Equally some other work that we did with the same group of women around, this must've been around housing, and this was the time when there was council house sell offs. We didn't do much work but we wrote about some of the tensions that there were for residents in those campaigns. We wrote a report about it and filed it and they said, "This report is too interesting for you to just hold on to. Give us 20 copies." They sent them to all sorts of different people of influence. To the press, we've always found it really difficult to get the press interested in anything that we're doing but if they sent it to the press they're interested. To some of the trade magazines like Housing Today and things like that. Sent it all sorts of different places and over the years, literally maybe 15 years later I might get a phone call saying, "I need another copy of that paper because there's someone else that needs to see it."
In terms of pursuing our agenda of dissemination of knowledge and the rest of it, collaborative work can be really helpful. Now they're doing this because it's helpful to them which is of course the purpose of it but there are mutual gains.