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PSYC 3110 (51)
Chapter 15

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PSYC 3110
Kieran O' Doherty

Chapter 15 – Community Approaches Within Health Psychology Overview: Community Health Psychology is an approach based upon promoting strategies for social change at the local level that can contribute to health and well-being. While such approaches offer much potential for reducing health inequalities they can potentially distract attention from the broader structural causes of ill health. History: New Lanark- in the eighteenth century came up with the term to describe an alternative form of group living apart from industrial society. A more communal style of living before conflictual and individualistic forms of living began rising. Politics of Community Action: - Has been growth of various forms of community or local social action which aims to challenge social oppression at a local level. - The extent to which it actually is a challenge to wider political power depends upon its underlying assumptions. - Community action draws upon different political heritages:  Consumerist approach: informed by contemporary neo-liberal ideology.  Tends to underplay the importance of broader political forces, e.g., issues of power, deindustrialization, and adopts a very idealistic view of community change which can lead to community victim blaming.  Ordered Community Approach: harks back to some mythical past and is informed by neo-conservative and even fascist ideas.  Tries to rearrange social relationships and behaviours without consideration of the wider social context.  Socially Just Community Approach: Emphasizes the importance of promoting social equality and celebrating diversity.  This approach combines an awareness of and challenge to broader social injustices with local campaigns. Community Psychology: - Concern often around the evaluation of community based social interventions rather than wit attempts to challenge broader social injustices. - North American social values for community psychology as outlined by Pilletensky and Nelson (2004)  Awareness of the political dimensions of human problems and a concern to promote an empowerment approach that emphasizes self-determination, democratic participation and power sharing.  A commitment to participation in broader social movements for social action and social justice  An emotional commitment to social change though adopting a ‘preferential option’ for the poor and dispossessed  A concern with promoting health and preventing disease and distress  Respect for diversity. - South American approach to community psychology has traditionally been more explicitly political. - Latin America’s approach was Liberation Psychology, which argues that it was the duty of Catholics to fight against social injustice and to adopt a preferential option for the poor. Dimensions of Community - Community psychology is a
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