Thursday, July 31, 2003

Brag post: Towards a Marxist community psychology

I have just read a review of Seedat, Duncan and Lazarus' book Community psychology. Theory, method and practice. This is what the reviewer (Kerry Frizelle) has to say about the chapter by Brandon Hamber, Thulani Masilela and Martin Terre Blanche:

"The most exciting chapter in this section, however, must be that of Hamber, Masilela and Terre Blanche (Towards a Marxist community psychology: radical tools for community psychological analysis and practice). It is exciting to see the resurrection of Marxist ideas despite the past and present "crisis" of Marxism. This chapter problematizes the theory and practice of psychology within a capitalist framework and encourages readers to "seek to understand the hidden mechanisms that produce individuality" (p. 54); primarily how social and economic realities construct individual and social relations, and subjectivities. The writers provide the reader with seven radical steps towards developing Marxist-oriented action within community psychology and encourage the reader to place an enlarged copy of these steps in a prominent position in one's university or workplace, in an attempt to actualise them. The issue of action is central to this entire volume and will undoubtedly be a welcomed text by those who are concerned with the passivity of conventional psychology to bring about substantial social change where and when it is most needed."

I remember when we wrote the chapter that we were determined to avoid producing yet another bland, obscure treatise on Marxism - but rather to convey something of its spirit in an exciting, polemical way that would at least make students take notice. It's nice that the reviewer responded positively to that. She also has many nice and useful things to say about the rest of the book of course.

The reference is Frizelle, K. (2002). Thinking critically about psychology in South Africa. Psychology in Society (PINS), number 28, p. 50-53. The book is Seedat, M., Duncan, N.,  Lazarus, S. (Eds.). Community psychology. Theory, method and practice. Cape Town: Oxford University Press. ISBN 019 571922 0