Founding Meeting Leaflet
This is the 2-sided leaflet publicizing the "conversation hour" at APA's 1993 convention that became RadPsyNet's founding meeting. It shows what we had in mind.
The longer proposal that led to the session is also available.
even when radical psychologists manage to get published,
their critiques typically end up ignored or marginalized
as mainstream psychology continues
business as usual?
Please come to an informal
at the American Psychological Association's Toronto Convention
Tuesday, August 24, 1993
1:00-1:50 PM (a terrible time, but worth sticking around for)
Westin Harbour Castle, Pier 3 Room
We're using the term radical fairly loosely here.
But if you'd like psychology
to reexamine its ties to the status quo,
to work more effectively for fundamental social change,
to create a society capable of meeting
human needs and social justice,
then you're who we have in mind!
For more information,
or to tell us you're interested even if you cannot attend
(perhaps we'll end up with an interest/activist network of some kind),
contact the discussion organizers
This could be fun. We hope you can make it.
Mainstream psychologists frequently address serious social problems.The American Psychological Association, for example, increasingly seeks to affect public policy through testimony at congressional hearings, appellate court appellate briefs, and similar methods. For the most part, APA's positions are consistent with the moderately liberal political views dominant in many of its more activist divisions. It is not surprising, thus, to see frequent letters to the APA Monitor expressing conservative criticisms of APA's reform efforts.
Less visible is input from the left. In fact, however, psychologists on the left, whether we call ourselves radicals or not, not only exist but are sometimes even published in the American Psychologist and other mainstream journals. Given an abundant literature, many radical critiques rely heavily on earlier work, some of it by past APA presidents and other respected elders who have urged psychology to reconsider its uncomfortably close ties to the status quo and to work for widespread social change (e.g., Albee, Bevan, Deutsch, Sarason). Many of us agree that psychology should go beyond what Caplan and Nelson called the mainstream "person-blame" ideology in order to bring about a transformed society more in keeping with human needs and social justice. As Albee put it, "more widespread and expensive social reform" is needed to prevent the "emotional distress and mental disturbance in our society [that] is due to dehumanizing social institutions."
Although psychologists on the left, thus, are frequently published, and sometimes even applauded, when it comes right down to where it counts--determining APA's political positions and the actual research, teaching, and therapeutic approaches of mainstream psychologists--we are almost entirely ignored. Given most psychologists' intellectual, professional, and personal connections to the status quo, such a situation is not surprising. (Perhaps what is really surprising is that organized psychology continues to provide a forum to critics apparently doomed to gain a measure of respect but not much influence. Is this a sign that radical critiques are taken as serious intellectual work or amusingly provocative diversions but not as practical contributions?) Beyond sporadic publication, what can we do to increase our effectiveness at working toward a transformed psychology and a transformed society?
Psychologists interested in discussing issues such as these are invited to attend an informal conversation hour at the 1993 APA convention in Toronto, sponsored by the divisions of community psychology, psychology-law, and history of psychology. If you cannot attend the convention but want to be included in any network that might result, contact one of the discussion organizers Dennis Fox & Isaac Prilleltensky [see current contact info]
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