Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2009

Liberation and Participation: Theory and Method for a Social and Political Community Psychology

Lecturer: Professor Maritza Montero,
Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas,

Main disciplines: Community Psychology, Social Psychology, Political Psychololgy

Dates: 27 - 31 July 2009

Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 30 participants

In this Course, a generative, participatory and critical community social psychology (CP) as developed in Latin America since the mid-seventies will be discussed, and comparisons with CP in other parts of the world will be presented. Emphasis will be put both in the variety of its social and theoretical influences, as well as in how it has been constructed as a praxis, applying forms of social intervention informed by a participatory approach and theoretical reflection. The links with the philosophy of liberation and the psychology of liberation produced in the mid-eighties will be critically analysed. The methodological model generated by P. Freire will be illustrated with examples showing how it has been adopted and transformed in CP in order to create its own paradigm. Participatory-action research procedures and techniques will be explained. It will be expected that the students participating will provide similar or contrasting examples to be analyzed and discussed.

Its objectives are:

Basic books/articles for preparation to the course:




Lecture 1: How a parallel mode of community psychology was created: Circumstances that impelled and gave way to its production. Critique of palliating modes of community intervention. The semantic plurality of the concept of community.

1.1. The evolution of Community Psychology. From palliative measures to generative processes.
1.2. Definition and conception. Critique of the concept of community. Cultural influence.


Lecture 2:
(2.1. & 2.2.) Circumstances for the generation of transformative community psychology. America (North and Latin), Australia, Africa, Asia and Europe beyond welfare.



Lecture 3:

3.1. Influences in Latin America: The Marxian print. Freire’s Adult education; Fals Borda’s Critical Sociology. Theory of Dependency.


3.2. Influences in Europe, Australia, South Africa and the US



Lecture 4: Paradigm supporting, and characteristics defining, a generative community psychology. Complexity, paradox and dialogical approach. Dimensions of the paradigm of critical construction and transformation.

4.1. The construction of the paradigm and its origins.
4.2. Ontological, epistemological, methodological, ethical and political dimensions.



Lecture 5: The Interaction between community psychology and the philosophy and Psychology of Liberation. Common influences. The ethical and political aspects of community psychology.

5.1. Common aspects and influences.


5.2. The Episteme of Relatedness. Otherness.


Lecture 6: (6.1. & 6.2.) A theoretical model in process, created from action and reflection. The construction of theory from praxis. Praxis that informs theory, theory that generates practices.



Lecture 7: Values and principles orienting a generative community psychology. The expression of the ethical character of community psychology.

7.1. Values and Principles of Community Psyhology.


7.2. The concept of analectics.



Lecture 8: (8.1. & 8.2.) Methodological aspects: The Use of Qualitative approach in Community Psychology and Mixing Methods.



Lecture 9: The concepts of participation and commitment, the effects of their interrelation. Participatory methods used in Community Psychology: PAR and other complementary methods.

9.1. Participation and commitment.


9.2. Participatory Methods. Participatory action-research.



Lecture 10: (10.1. & 10.2.) Psychosocial community processes: From naturalization and familiarization, through problematization, to conscientisation. The action-reflection-action model. Methods for consciemtisation.



Total Reading List


Additional Readings Recommended

The Lecturer
Maritza Montero obtained her Ph.D. at the Centre de Ethnopsichologie et Psychologie Sociale of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales of Paris University. She is Professor of Social Psychology and member of the Academic Committee of the Graduate Program in Psychology at University Central de Venezuela. Montero has published extensively in journals in the U.S., Latin America and Europe. A past Senior Fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford; Visiting Scholar at the University of London’s Centre for Multicultural Education, and Maître de Conferences at the Centre de Recherches sur la Parole, of the Université de Paris 8, Montero concentrates on three lines of research and action: (1) political and community psychology, (2) theoretical, epistemological and methodological aspects in Social Psychology, and (3) political discourse analysis.

She has been President of the International Society of Political Psychology (2006), and has taught and lectured in academic and research Centres in France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, México, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and U.S.A.. She is a member of editorial boards of several community and social psychology journals, including the American Journal of Community Psychology (where she is a Senior Associate Editor); the Journal of Community Psychology; Community, Work and Family; the Interamerican Journal of Psychology and Teoría e Sociedade. In 1995 she received the Inter-American Psychology Award, and in 2000 she received the Venezuelan National Science Award (2000).

She has published 84 papers in national and international Journals, 68 chapters in books published in Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Chile, Colombia, France, Mexico, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Spain, USA., has co-edited 8 books on social, community and political psychological topics; edited 3, and published 6 about community psychology (3); social psychology (1) and national identity (1). Her latest publications in English (2004-2008) are:

A new book edited by her and Christopher Sonn, The Psychology of Liberation. Theory and Applications, will come out in February 2009, published by Springer. In March 2009, a special section coordinated by her, on Community Psychology and Politics, will appear at the American Journal of Community Psychology.

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