There is nothing so practical as …: building myths in community psychology.

Bishop, Brian J. and Browne, Alison L. (2006) There is nothing so practical as …: building myths in community psychology. The Australian Community Psychologist, 18 (3). pp. 68-73. ISSN 1320-7741

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Kurt Lewin’s comment about the need to integrate psychological theory and practice famously has been mythologised in academic psychology in a distorted, self-serving form. Myths may serve to create a sense of collective identity, but in professional arenas myths can lead to distortions of the nature of theory and practice. We argue that some central tenets of community psychology have developed mythical status and, as such, perform social as well as conceptual functions. We argue that the unexamined status of these myths can lead to difficulties in praxis, the theory-practice interface. This has led to misunderstandings of people and community. For example, although community psychology was to be operationalised at broader levels (i.e., societal, community and organisational) as well as the individual, the prevailing zeitgeist of positivistic psychological thinking dominated actual practice and community psychology’s myths have contributed to the failure to recognise the dominance of individualistic thinking, with little conceptualisation and operationalisation occurring beyond the individual level. This has led to poor implementation of the ecological approaches epitomised by contextualism.

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Journal Article
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The Australian Community Psychologist
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11 Feb 2010 15:26
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11 Sep 2023 13:24