Thanks to Tor Neilands and David Nightingale, the Radical Psychology Network now has a home in cyberspace as we begin our second year. Two homes, in fact, an ocean apart....
Gopher is a menu-based system that simplifies searches for computer files. Past issues of RadPsyNews and other material are now on a computer at the University of Texas-Austin, available for browsing or downloading by any Internet user looking for resources in psychology.
Tor Neilands has also set up a WWW Page where our material appears in an easy-to-use format. The World Wide Web is fast becoming the standard point-and-click Internet search tool.
To use the gopher, connect to gopher.utexas.edu and follow the hierarchy UT-Austin/Colleges,Departments,Projects/ Radical Psychology Network.
To use the WWW, connect to http://www.radpsynet.org.
Our newest form of communication, extending well beyond our own membership, is an automated Internet Electronic Mail Discussion List coordinated by David Nightingale at the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom. Postings have ranged from an animated debate over the politics of studying racial differences to more mundane conference announcements.
Although more than 130 people have signed on already, most members of RadPsyNet have not. Why not? Whatever the reason, if you have e-mail but haven't yet subscribed to the list, you're not getting the kinds of information that you used to receive, and are not interacting with like-minded psychologists around the world.
Why not try it?
The good news: Our appeal for voluntary dues brought in $250, enough to pay for Newsletters #5 and 6 and some other expenses as well. (Such as the letters we just sent to 60 members of the now-defunct Association of Progressive Psychologists.) Thanks to all who contributed! Especially the Vermonter who sent $100!
The bad news: We're now broke. More members and more pages have left us with no money for the next newsletter. For publicity. For registration as a unaffiliated group at the next APA convention.
Each newsletter costs about a dollar per person for copying and mailing. With more than 90 members, including increasing numbers abroad, we spend over a hundred dollars per issue.
The Internet has already helped us save some money. We now direct interested people to the gopher to read past newsletters rather than send them paper copies. We send new members the membership list through e-mail to cut down costs. We distribute detailed conference announcements and similar material free (and much more quickly) through the e-mail discussion list.
So perhaps RadPsyNews is unnecessary. Although I think it's still useful to give people paper, we can no longer do so without a steadier supply of cash. (More help would also be nice! A topic for another day....) Of course, if we stop publishing, there won't be new newsletters to read on the Internet either.
Reluctantly, we've decided to establish a formal dues policy:
Annual membership dues are now US $10.
Dues will be waived if you cannot afford them.
But we'll take you off the membership list and no longer send you the newsletter if you don't send us either a check or a request for a waiver.
Unless of course you've already contributed.
[Big Changes! See our current membership policy!]
Please use the enclosed response form to make sure we have your current address. Make out your check to Radical Psychology Network, and send it to me to deposit in our account.
If you decide not to continue as a member, we'd appreciate your letting us know why.
And if you stay with us (please!), we could use some feedback as well!
There's growing interest in a RadPsyNet meeting during or preceding next August's APA convention in New York. This will take a lot of work. If you're willing to help, contact Isaac Prilleltensky.
One RadPsyNet Member's Interpretation
University of Texas-Austin
Several newsletters ago Dennis Fox asked us, the membership of the Radical Psychology Network, to evaluate who we are and what we do. When David Nightingale, the RadPsyNet e-mail coordinator, posted news of the Radical Psychology e-mail list to other e-mail lists, this question arose again: What is radical psychology and what are our goals?
These questions gave me no small amount of pause. After all, members of the mainstream can rest comfortably atop years of following the same methods and goals; old habits can be hard to break (assuming one wants to break them). Furthermore, the architecture of psychology is structured such that the overwhelming majority of information distributed to psychologists reflects a status quo mentality. For example, in thumbing through this past month's (September, 1994) APA Monitor, I noticed that the following ideas were promulgated for psychologists' consumption:
Suppose that I take issue about some of this (mis?)information which appears in the APA Monitor. The moment I do so, I may receive several possible responses, such as:
Notice that I have limited my field of responses to challenges to the radical psychology position instead of rebuttals to the critiques of the status quo. The need for brevity, and the fact that attacks and defenses of the status quo are already represented in the psychological literature prompt me to keep my focus on the topic at hand: What makes for a radical psychologist?
The responses outlined above would seem at first blush to spawn a serious conundrum (and if you take these things as seriously as I do, some depression, as well): Radical Psychology cannot exist without the status quo. Furthermore, radical psychologists, being the thoughtful and incisively critical individuals that they are, will most likely have difficulty coming to an agreement as to what orientation surpasses that of the status quo in terms of what is good and just; we may not even be able to agree on what "good" and "just" mean!
Does this state of affairs paralyze us or prohibit us from taking action when we encounter a situation where we encounter (what we interpret as) injustice? I submit the answer to this question is, "No." Here's why:
In the months ahead I look forward to hearing and learning from other radical psychologists about this and other issues. To those of you have contributed to the newsletter and on-line discussions, many thanks for your thoughtful comments!
University of Tulsa
With the support of a Fulbright lecturing and research grant, I was able to spend July and August 1994 in Managua. I think fellow RadPsy members may be interested in an update on the country that was so much in the news during the 1980s, only to disappear after the Sandinistas lost the 1990 election to a strange coalition of opposition parties.
Nicaragua is now undergoing what is known as structural adjustment at the political-economic level. What this seems to mean at the social level is incredible misery, for structural adjustment requires rapid dismantling of state-supported social services, privatization of state industry, elimination of subsidies for basic foodstuffs, etc. The poor in Nicaragua have always had it hard and life continues to be hard for them, if not harder. Structural adjustment combined with a drought has produced the first reports of campesinos starving to death. The major intersections are full of children trying to earn small change cleaning car windows while drivers are stopped at stoplights. Prostitution is highly visible--it had virtually disappeared during the Sandinista years. Malaria and polio have reappeared after being totally eradicated in the early 1980s. The middle class also had a rough time during the war against the Contras, mostly due to shortages of things to which they had become accustomed. But now they suffer for lack of jobs and income to purchase the imported goods that beckon from numerous new stores. Overall unemployment is estimated at 60-70%. In short, the small middle class is declining and increasingly desperate. I met few professionals who were not in some manner trying to leave the country for a few years at least--to work, to get advanced training, to escape the daily grind of making ends meet while working a few odd jobs.
In the midst of all this, the academic psychologists I worked with have the formidable task of training several hundred students to work effectively despite social chaos. The library at the Jesuit-run Universidad Centroamericana has few new books and hardly any journals. Visitors are besieged with requests for articles and books on specific topics that might help give researchers at least some idea of what has been done before in a given field. Even making photocopies is a luxury when academic salaries run from $100 to $200 per month and gasoline costs $3 per gallon! Despite the obstacles, the faculty manages to be one of the hardest working, socially committed, and earnest academic groups one could possibly find.
I would say they deserve our support. With funds raised among members of the informal Association of Progressive Psychologists, we managed to get a journal off the ground in the psych department there, to publish work relevant to the Central American context. But they also need cash, books, journals, tape recorders, etc. Anyone interested in sending stuff to Managua with me on my next few visits should get in touch soon. Consider trying to get students to take on the raising of money or collection of materials as a project. Of special interest are materials in Spanish on family violence, sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, family therapy, conflict resolution, and media-based prevention programs (English materials will do if that's what is available). For more information, contact:
[1997 Note! See our Books & Reviews Page]
Robert J. Gregory
[Review of Alvin Toffler & Heidi Toffler (1993). War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century, London: Little Brown and Company, ISBN 0316909513]
The American Psychological Association requested support for military funded research in universities for psychological research, presumably research to maintain superiority in military capabilities. This issue was discussed in RadPsyNews, Issue #5. For those who want to pursue this topic, a new book might be of interest. Toffler and Toffler (1993) have covered many of the issues raised by advanced military thinking in a delightful, easy to read, yet scary, study.
Titled War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century, the Tofflers list some of the frightening technological devices: "smart" weapons, non-lethal but disabling devices, information and disinformation, global positioning units, anti-traction weapons, calmatives, exoskeletons for individual soldiers, virtual reality, robots, and weapons on nanometre scales. These latter, for example, are likely to be sufficiently small to operate at a molecular level. They could be designed to be self-reproducing, and be remotely activated. The mind boggles at the potential of these new technologies. With regard to computers, new software is developing so fast that technology leads "knowledge." The Tofflers indicate this may be where the real struggles of the future lie.
As agricultural based economies faded when industrial level economies took over, now knowledge based, information societies are emerging and making previous "forms" less important. However, the Tofflers argue, war can and does still involve all levels, but in new ways. Significantly, we lack peace mechanisms at the knowledge level, which may be an arena in which the role of psychologists could be great.
Biological agents were less well covered than they might have been, but mention of their impact and potential for war is made. Sufficient issues were raised so that my mind will remain occupied for some time.
The bibliography includes over 400 items, a valuable list of research, books, and reports which concern advanced concepts of war and peace.
After reading this volume, I continue to believe that the military should not coopt or buy universities to perform psychological research. I continue to believe that if and when opportunity presents, the military forces should be downgraded and more money should be allocated to human social needs. If the military wants and needs research, they should conduct their research by and for themselves, even though war, as Trotsky and the Tofflers say, "is interested in all of us."
[Review of Wolf Wolfensberger (1994). The Growing Threat to the Lives of Handicapped People in the Context of Modernistic Values, Disability & Society, 9(3), 395-413.]
Every now and then I run across an article or book so powerful that I feel compelled to alert others in my networks of the ideas, both to inform, and also, to seek collective examination of the ideas and an affirmation of my feelings that the material is important. So it is with Wolfensberger's most recent statement about modernistic values and their impact on people with disabilities.
Modernism includes a materialistic worldview, individualism, sensualism, and rejection of external moral authorities. In fact, modernism is the prevalent religion, albeit undeclared and unacknowledged even by those who profess various religions and other values. Modernism, according to Wolfensberger (p. 397) "cannot provide a basis for polity." As a direct result, much of the United States social system is in an advanced state of collapse, including the family, religious institutions, medical ethics, cities, schools, prisons, and political parties. Many other social institutions are in extensive states of collapse too and yet others are entering this condition.
As a result of modernism and the collapse of social systems, deathmaking of socially devalued groups takes place. This includes unwanted unborn, unwanted newborns, unwanted children, handicapped people, the poor, prisoners, street people, native populations, the elderly, the contagious, the chronically ill, the terminally ill, and those who have combinations of the above identities.
In terms of numbers, Wolfensberger has examined population figures, statistical reports, and the media to come up with some estimates.
Per year in the United States there are deaths: 1.5 million abortions, some 200,000 poor people excluded from health care, about 100,000 people who were placed on prescribed psychoactive drugs, some 100,000 from direct abuse and violence, 35,000 from other types of personal violence, another 35,000 from unjustified withdrawal of medical treatment and life supports, and perhaps 100,000 due to medical errors and misadventure. These are large and significant figures--Wolfensberger would regard them as conservative.
Arguing that bioethics conferences have missed the point, Wolfensberger states that "From its very first beginning, each and every human being is of intrinsic, absolute, indivisible value" (p. 409). He also claims that "every person is as valuable as any other person." Such groups as the Association for Retarded Citizens have lost their moral standing for they have failed to be consistent against deathmaking.
Wolfensberger has provided a profoundly disturbing view to all who have adopted "modernism" in its many forms. His alternative view must be considered carefully and with sincerity by those who profess to be in service to humans. Radical psychologists will find much to consider, think about, analyze, and act upon by reading and studying this article.
[Taken off the Internet]
Internet browsers may be interested in an archive of papers on action research available by anonymous ftp at psych.psy.uq.oz.au in directory lists/arlist. The file ar_README gives summaries of archived papers. Send queries to Bob Dick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pam Swepson has a draft of a paper which explores the philosophical underpinnings of action research and to some extent of other research paradigms. Pam is hoping for critical comment. To get the paper send the e-mail message get ar_philos to email@example.com or by anonymous ftp as noted above. The paper is named ar_philos.
I am interested in exploring the philosophical underpinnings of action research to improve my own practice as an organisational consultant. I am making the assumption that if I understand the basic assumptions of the paradigm I am less likely to violate them in my practice.
I intend to use my understanding of action research to increase its use in my work organisation, a government department of agriculture, as a primary paradigm for extensionists and other social scientists and as a secondary paradigm for agricultural scientists for when their science hits up against social systems.
It is difficult to find the assumptions behind action research because there are so many different models. Therefore, I am exploring the philosophy of action research by comparing it with the philosophy of science. This is an intellectual tool, to compare it with something that it is not. And it is a practical tool for enabling me to explain action research to scientists in terms that don't have specific connotation in science.
George Albee says the Vermont Conference on the Primary Prevention of Psychopathology has a supply of books they'll send free to libraries, clinics, departments, and RadPsyNews readers. Please send along $2.00 per book to cover postage. Available books (all published by University Press of New England in Hanover, NH) include:
Albee, G.W., & Joffe, J.M. (Editors). (1977). The Primary Prevention of Psychopathology: The Issues.
Joffe, J.M., & Albee, G.W. (Editors). (1981). Prevention Through Political Action and Social Change.
Bond, L.A., & Joffe, J.M. (Editors). (1983). Facilitating Infant and Early Childhood Development.
Albee, G.W., Gordon, S., & Leitenberg, H. (Editors). (1983). Promoting Sexual Responsibility and Prevention of Sexual Problems.
Rosen, J.C., & Solomon, L.J. (Editors). (1985). Prevention in Health Psychology.
Kessler, M., & Goldston, S.E. (Editors). (1986). A Decade of Progress in Primary Prevention.
The Vermont Conference on the Primary Prevention of
Department of Psychology
John Dewey Hall
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT 05405 USA
The Center for Psychology and Social Change is an affiliate of the Harvard Medical School at the Cambridge Hospital and is an independently incorporated non-profit organization. Previously named The Center for Psychological Studies in the Nuclear Age, the Center, which sponsors action-oriented research, experiential programs, and public education, has been in existence for 10 years.
Originally established to examine and alter the psychological dynamics driving the cold war, the Center has expanded its mission to work with others to envision and create a different way of organizing and conducting human affairs based upon mutually enhancing relationships among humans and among humans and the non-human world. We study and promote shifts in consciousness and behavior that will promote sustainable, equitable and peaceful ways of living.
The Center seeks to both understand the psychological forces motivating unsustainable and violent behavior by individuals and institutions and find new ways for humanity to see and experience itself as an integrated part of the web of life, investing in and taking responsibility for the health and continuity of the whole system for the benefit of all within it.
Underlying all our work is the belief that, ultimately, we cannot use the same thinking and methods to solve our problems that were used to create them. Our projects contribute to the formation of a new psychology for sustainability by looking beyond the current no-win frameworks in which we operate and addressing current world problems at their deepest psychological level. We apply psychology to help heal and reshape destructive relationships in the social, ecological, and spiritual realms.
At the heart of the Center's work is the belief that true sustainability can only flow from a deeper, richer exploration of the human identity, one which gives primacy to our interconnectedness rather than our separateness. The Center facilitates exchanges and collaborations between those involved in social change , from researchers to activists, from theorists to practitioners, from ordinary citizens to community leaders.
Current Center projects include:
The Center for Psychology & Social Change
1493 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02139
Conferences, conferences, and more conferences! Some seem perfect for RadPsyNet members to fit right in. Others could benefit from a few radical psychologists showing up. Let us know how it goes!
RadPsyNet will co-sponsor the 10th Annual Meeting of the international, interorganizational, interdisciplinary Research/Study Team on Nonviolent Large Systems Change being held May 21-23, 1995 at George Williams College just outside Chicago. This conference was announced in the last RadPsyNews.
If you are interested in attending as the RadPsyNet delegate, contact Don Cole.
Proposals for presentation are also solicited.
The O.D. Institute
781 Beta Drive, Suite K
Cleveland, OH 44143 USA
June 11-14, 1995: LoSkolen, Helsingor, Denmark.
IACM was founded to encourage research and training in the handling of social conflict in a variety of arenas. Topical areas for 1995 include environmental dispute resolution, organizational conflict, communication and decision processes in negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and international conflict.
Proposals by February 1.
Carsten de Dreu
IACM Program Chair
Department of Psychology
University of Groningen
Grote Kruisstraat 2/1,
9712 TS Groningen,
Phone: (+31.50) 63.64.18
FAX: (+31.50) 63.63.04
The Law and Society Association meets June 1-4, 1995 in Toronto. The convention theme is "Being, Doing, Remembering: The Practices and Promises of Sociolegal Research at the Close of the Twentieth Century." Deadline for proposals is December 15.
Law and Society Association Hampshire House
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003 USA Phone: 413/545-4617
In the next RadPsyNews, we'll print Laurie Miller's critical review of Isaac Prilleltensky's new book, The Morals and Politics of Psychology: Psychological Discourse and the Status Quo, along with a response by Isaac. To order the book, call (607) 277-2211 or write SUNY Press c/o CUP Services, P.O.Box 6525, Ithaca, NY 14851, USA. The paperback version is US $19.95 plus $3 for postage and handling (ISBN 0-7914-2038-8).
The Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) is an international organization of more than 1,800 academic scholars, policy makers, and business people devoted to the development of new theoretical and methodological frameworks to explain economic and more general choice behavior. SASE promotes scientific study, scholarship, intellectual exploration, and public policy development.
Rooted in the belief that economic behavior is embedded in society, polity, and culture, and is not a self-contained system, socioeconomics draws upon the disciplines of economics, psychology, sociology, political science, philosophy, anthropology, and history. Socio-economics recognizes the complexity of human decision-making processes, and locates economic behavior within encompassing philosophical, psychological, societal, historical, institutional, and ethical contexts.
Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics
2808 Central Ave. S.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87106 USA
April 7-9, 1995 in Washington, D.C. The host institution is Georgetown University.
Around the world and across time the production, distribution, and consumption of economic resources have been shaped by tribal, clan, and national, as well as race, ethnic, and religious social identities. It is almost impossible to talk about one form of equality without simultaneously talking about others. Class, status and power have always been intertwined with the inequalities of social identity groupings. Of course, gender inequality has pervaded all of these. The theme of the 1995 conference will be to explore how and why economics, ethics, and ethnicity (or other forms of social identity) are interrelated. Given the changes underway across the world economy in which more parts of the world are affected by what happens elsewhere, the differences among groups of people seem to be becoming more consequential. There is a real sense in which success in the world economy will depend on the ability to transcend or harmoniously live with such basic social differences, but presumably not if they continue to be the basis for inequality in the distribution of economic resources.
Although all papers on socio-economic topics are welcome, given the program theme we are especially interested in papers on the following themes:
What's your experience trying to publish in mainstream psychology journals?
Is the energy spent shaping our views for the mainstream worth it?
Or would we better off focusing on alternative publishers?
What do you think?
Dan Perlman, editor of the Journal of Social Issues, encourages members of SPSSI (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues) to contribute to the Journal. To facilitate contact between potential Issue Editors and authors, he will periodically announce possible topics which are currently under discussion for development as JSI issues. The possibility of an issue on alternative research methods is now being explored by Mary Brydon-Miller. A statement of interest addressed to Dr. Brydon-Miller including a brief (1-2 paragraph) description of your ideas for a paper would be welcomed.
This proposed issue will deal with alternative research methodologies including, but not limited to: feminist research, participatory research, phenomenological research, cross-cultural research, and more traditional empirical research. The issue will be organized using a lead article, commentary, and response format. Lead papers will provide an overview of an alternative research approach, its current practice, and application to addressing important social issues. Contributors will be asked to review and comment on each others' approach, with lead authors responding to the commentaries.
Department of Psychology
New England College
Hanniker, NH 03242 USA
University of Durban-Westville
I am associate editor for an alternative psychology journal called Psychology In Society (PINS) which appears about 3 times a year and has been in existence since 1985. We developed as an alternative journal--publishing on issues that the mainstream journal did not appear to want to touch. Authors are encouraged to send us articles that critically explore the nature of psychology in apartheid and capitalist society. There is a special emphasis on the theory and practice of psychology in Southern Africa. I encourage RadPsyNet members to subscribe (our only source of revenue) and send articles for publication. The current cost to overseas subscribers is $18 (individuals/surface mail) and $36 for institutions/surface mail.
Psychology In Society
P. O. Box 17285
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