Critical Psychology

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Critical Psychology is an approach rather than a theory, an orientation towards psychological knowledge and practice, and to relations of power in general. It is an orientation that cuts across the various sub-disciplines in psychology, and is made up of diverse theoretical perspectives and forms of practice. As such, the best way to grasp critical psychology is by getting a sense of its agendas and functioning across a spread of theories and practices. This is exactly what this book offers, a broad and flexible introduction to critical psychology that explores the diverse concerns of this orientation as it applies to the socio-political contexts of post-apartheid South Africa. The book expands on the theoretical resources usually referred to in the field of critical psychology – Marxism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, feminism – by providing substantive discussions of Black Consciousness, post-colonialism and Africanist forms of critique. This book is also a response to the need to rethink a more politically aware and participant psychology in South Africa; it hence features focus chapters on racism, community development, HIV/Aids and participatory action forms of research.

There are numerous routes through critical psychology, multiple different ways in which the subject can be approached and taught, each with its own particular brand of theoretical loyalties or preferences. This book contains a wealth of material, and a wealth of critical perspectives spread across theoretical, practical and distinctly South African levels of application.

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